India has the second-largest mobile phones even ahead of the US whereas China is in lead. We all know that Intex, Micromax, Lava, and Karbonn were once the big four of the Indian Smartphone sector. Everywhere from banners to holdings to add spots on TV would be dominated by companies like Micromax lava and Karbonn and do you remember the Karbonn kamal catch but after that, they lost market share. Let us have a look at their market values,

This Picture shows the share of smart phones in 2014

Whereas the above picture shows the share of smart phones in 2019

We can notice that in 2014 Indian manufacturers like Micromax, Karbonn, Lava hold a place in the market and after 5 years their market share sank so badly that not one of them can be seen holding their past position and consumers continue to swap their existing smart phones with new ones offered by Chinese brands. But what happened that they have to fight so hard for their survival.

1. Rebranding

  • Rebranding them didn’t require a lot of investment so,
  • Indian manufacturers launched some smartphones that were already launched in China or Taiwan and they rebranded it and then launched in India that is china was its ODM (original design manufacturer) and they neither had a manufacturing unit nor R&D (research and development) which means no software support.
  • Initially with this they made a lot of profits. Profit up to 20-30% still didn’t work on R&D or manufacturing units.
  • They acted like Smartphone’s traders, not manufacturers, behaved like businessmen but not the product people.

2.     Launch of 4G:

  • Another major factor for dethroning of the Indian Companies as they continued to play in the wrong price band and continue to spend their resources on outdated 3G capabilities in the 4G era.
  • They didn’t even learn from falling big brands like Blackberry and Nokia who were unable to see the future and react on time.
  • They were expecting the arrival of 4G by 2018. On the other hand, their foreign counterparts where aggressively playing and sent big Indian brands tumbling down.

3. Ecommerce to offline:

  • This was the period when Indians were buying either their 1st or 2nd smart phones or they got better services and better specifications than from our Indian brands.
  • First came Motorola g with much more good specifications for 12,000 with regular updates and with regular updates they could use it for 2-3 years easily.
  • Then came MI3 at a price tag of 14000 and Redmi 1s for just 6000 and no one could even deny that this phone was amazing but they all had online and they occupied it very well,
  • But as we know that Indians prefer to purchase Smart phones through offline retailers so Indian brands still stood a chance and we can’t keep the fact aside that they had a clear advantage as India is their homeland.
  • And then entered Vivo and Oppo who painted the whole market to blue and green.

What exactly Vivo Oppo and Xiaomi did?

Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo did their homework so they started to build their foundation. The Chinese phone makers ensured that it offers the same pricing and support in its offline stores as it does through Flipkart, Amazon India, or its eCommerce site. They gave a very good commission to distributers which lead every offline retailer to have them. India is a selfie crazy nation so Oppo and Vivo advertise their phone as selfie-phone as well as they seized every Indian celebrity that matters. Deepika Padukone is endorsing Oppo, Ranveer Singh is peddling Vivo, and even the Big B have been harnessed to flog OnePlus.


4.     Make in India

  • Indian brand had a well-built point of assembling products in India, while at that time none of the Chinese players had its assembly line in India.
  • Then come to the Make in India initiative from the Indian government and Micromax believed that it would help to hold back the foreign invasion. However, it took a different turn.
  • The foreign manufacturers took the initiative thoughtfully and started assembling in India and now they are manufacturing their products in India which saved them loads of taxes, import duties, and shipping costs,
  • But Micromax and other Indian brands had the same opportunity but they didn’t spend any on R&D or their manufacturing units.
  • This left Micromax in trouble as their assumptions went wrong making them compete with the Chinese brands in the country.

5. Innovation, quality, and pricing:

  • People are a bit more inclined towards the design which Indian manufacturers didn’t understand totally.
  • They continuously produced a bunch of smart phones with the same design, little or minor difference in features as they didn’t have their manufacturing units.
  •  The design almost the same for numerous phones as well as their user interface was so bad. They paid very little attention to building material.
  • The Chinese brands were operating at a profit margin of 5% whereas Indian at 20%-30% still failed to provide product quality.
  • The primary reason for the exponential growth has been the product quality that is offering the consumers high specifications and premium features at the same price or the same rates.

6.     After-sale services:

  • Every brand has a responsibility to meet after-sale services of their users but the majority of Indian manufacturer’s service centers failed to handle hardware/software problems.
  • Many users complained that the phones are buggy and after complaining about it no possible solution was presented within the time.
  • Even Micromax was fined for 10,000 for poor after-sales services in Dehradun.
  • Meanwhile other brands were consumer-centric forums and had communities to soothe the needs.
  • That’s why when the consumer saw the other options, they were ready to switch.
smart phones

Some other mistakes:

  • They let other foreign players like Lenovo, Xiaomi, and Motorola dominate the online smartphone market which sold like hotcakes a fatal mistake that they realized way too late.
  • Then Micromax tried to combat with launches like yu and u1 which intern turn out to be a disaster just because they didn’t learn from their old mistakes and they used the old tactic of rebranding.
  • Micromax fought a case with OnePlus which they won and had a chance to overthrow them which they didn’t.

What can Indian smart phones do to regain some of their market shares?

 It is very difficult for Indian manufacturers to make a comeback. They need a lot of financial muscle to fight their foreign counterparts, but it is not impossible they are down but not out here are some methods they can adapt,

  1. By focusing on the Budget segment and give an excellent product for value for money with this the companies will have a chance to compete at the lower end section.
  2. They should try to concentrate on Indian centric content can dig in a little deep and come up with even more interesting ideas and useful content. They can also include regional language support.
  3. Heavy Investment in research and development is a must to formulate new strategies to tap a bigger market share.
  4. Focus on marketing by engaging the consumers through promotions and advertisements on digital as well as non-digital platforms.
  5. Take care of their after-sale services and regular software updates.

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