The hyper-competitive Indian smartphone market has always been in the global spotlight. Within a matter of years, homegrown mobile companies toppled and Chinese companies like Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo emerged as market leaders. Effective marketing skills, aggressive pricing models, online sale strategy and best camera and feature-rich phones were the major driving factors of the Chinese brands’ dominance in the Indian market.
In 2020, home-grown Indian mobile companies like Micromax, Lava, Karbonn are struggling to stay afloat and have lost the battle to Chinese competitors. Here are 6 reasons which can be attributed to their downfall:
The ‘Innovation’ DNA
Innovation is the backbone of the smartphone industry and one of the full-proof ways to differentiate offerings in a competitive landscape. Lack of focus on innovation, lack-luster features and mundane specifications put Indian mobile companies on a weak footing while competing with Chinese players. This could also be attributed to many factors such as low budget allocation for R&D, shortage of skilled talent and technology leadership clubbed with complacency.
Xiaomi which currently holds 26% of the overall market share has been bringing path-breaking innovations and industry disruptions at an unceasing rate specifically in the budget segment. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max which is one of the best camera phones in the under 20000 price bucket comes with an impressive 108 MP quad camera set up and offers flagship camera features at an aggressive price-point.
Inability to understand the market segmentation
An understanding of the complex Indian smartphone market is critical to tailor offerings which can in turn generate high volume sales. Vivo for instance was able to understand that the young population was under-served and specifically came up with cool phones with best cameras which were able to hit off well with this group. Infact they went on to bring out enhancements in the front camera with special Night mode for low-light conditions which became the USP of their phones in the budget segment too. Take for instance the Vivo iQ007 is one of the best 5G camera phones under 30000 with a very impressive spec sheet i.e. 8 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, blazing fast Snapdragon 870 processor, 4400 maH battery with 66W flash-charging, 48 MP OIS main camera, extreme night vision, gaming supported thanks to the Graphite layer with Liquid Cooling System and a 120 Hz AMOLED display.
Branding and promotion
Chinese smartphone players like Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo hold 75% of the market share and one of the main reasons was owing to their aggressive brand promotional strategies and celebrity endorsements which led to them to become a household name in India. Today there are synonymous with budget mobile handsets and go-to phones for India’s young segment.
Make in India
The famous ‘Make in India’ initiative kicked off in 2014 and gave a big impetus for non-Indian companies to set up manufacturing plants and design centres in India. Today nearly all the Chinese brands have manufacturing facilities in India and majority of the phones which get sold in India are manufactured here. While this created job opportunities, this has had a negative impact on Indian mobile companies. Before the Chinese brands trooped in, Micromax had grown to become the second-largest player in the Indian market and was giving a tough fight to the then leader Samsung. However in Q1 2020 it held a mere 0.1% share of the market.
Lack of focus on Online sales
Chinese brands have also specifically targeted online channels where Indian brands like have been unable to make a significant impact. Vivo is currently the leader in the smartphone offline sales and the market leader Xiaomi continues to drive maximum sales volume online. A hybrid selling strategy which combines an online and offline sales model is the surest way to drive sales volume in the current scenario.
Slow adoption of 4G
One of the prime reasons leading to the downfall of Indian mobile companies was the entry of 4G. When 4G took the market by storm in 2018, Chinese brands launched 4G smartphones at lightning speed at competitive prices while the Indian brands were delayed in refreshing their portfolio. Today as 5G phones are hitting shelves, Chinese companies are going tooth-and-nail to grab the market share. The Oppo A53 and the Realme 8 5G are the cheapest 5G mobile handsets in India and can be brought under Rs 15000.
The widest collection of mobile phones
Whether you are looking to buy a smartphone manufactured by a home-grown brand or a Chinese major, the Bajaj Finserv EMI store is the best avenue to head to. You get to compare features and price and take your pick. And with the EMI scheme, your purchase cost get spread into EMI’s which can be paid over a flexible tenor. So a simple online purchase experience coupled with stress-free repayment should be good enough reasons to begin your next phone purchase.