For far too long, the Indian smartphone OEMs have been bystanders, and mere spectators. It wasn’t that long ago when the likes of Micromax, Intex and Karbonn were popular options, and were only behind Samsung in the Indian mobile phone marketplace. In fact, Micromax was hot on the heels of Samsung in terms of market share, almost displacing the global juggernaut in the country. However, all that changed when Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi entered the market.
It soon dawned on the Indian manufacturers that they were outgunned and outclassed. They did not have the technological resources, or the capital they required to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Xiaomi, Samsung, Oppo and Vivo. This resulted in them being taken out of the picture completely, as the Indian smartphone market was dominated by Chinese brands, along with the likes of Samsung. However, the local brands now have a new lease of life, with the Indian government launching the Make in India initiative, while global brands are now opening manufacture and assembly plants in the country.
So, what can the domestic brands do to compete with these behemoths? Let us look at a few things that can provide them with the impetus to actually challenge the global smartphone brands.
Focus on low-income groups
Before the likes of Karbonn, Intex and Lava went out on a whimper few years ago, they were offering pocket-friendly devices with barely decent features and specifications. However, if you take a closer look at few of the Realme phones that cost between Rs. 6,000 – Rs. 7,000, they come with decent features. The Indian smartphone brands should focus on the low penetration of mobile phones among low-income groups, and offer better smartphone models with decent features and specifications.
With Micromax getting a new lease of life, one can expect Micromax to cater to this segment. However, it goes without saying that the local brands have to up their game, and offer better models at low price points.
Phones with the latest technology
The Indian government has given the Indian mobile companies a second chance, and it is important that they make the most of this opportunity. The local brands need to offer smartphones with the latest in technology to the consumers to get their attention. For instance, they can try to offer the best mobile under 15000 with best camera, or provide smartphones with AR and VR compatibility. One thing is for certain: it is almost impossible to beat brands like Xiaomi, Realme and Samsung at their own game. It is imperative for the Indian mobile companies to find their niche, and come up with a gameplan to better cater to the market segment that might feel left out.
The Indian smartphone market is expected to increase multifold over the next couple of years. Today, we have over half a billion smartphone users in the country, and many predict the number to cross 850 million by 2023. As such, there is a massive market for the local brands to cater to, but it is important that they understand who their target audience is.
It is easy to say that Indian smartphone companies must adopt a global mindset, but that is what the Chinese smartphone OEMs managed to do a few years ago. Once the big boys firmly established their dominance in the Chinese market, they spread their wings, and sought a relatively nascent market with massive potential, and that was when they zeroed in on India. The local manufacturers have to adopt a ruthless mindset, and should do everything within their power to increase their brand presence and awareness.
There is still a long way to go for the Indian mobile companies to compete with the likes of Xiaomi, Samsung and Realme. However, with the Indian government’s efforts, and the changing mindset of the average consumer, 2021 might just be the year the local manufacturers witness a change in their fortunes.
You can now purchase a made in India mobile phone, or a smartphone from your favourite brand by using the Bajaj Finserv EMI Network Card. You can pay for the smartphone in easy EMIs, with flexible tenors ranging from 3 to 24 months.