Motorola needs an heir to the RAZR | india | Hindustan Times
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Motorola needs an heir to the RAZR

Motorola needs a heir to its successful RAZR phone to hold on to market share.

india Updated: May 31, 2006 12:45 IST

Motorola needs a successor to its successful RAZR phone to hold on to market share, and BenQ Mobile is set to make gains when new products kick in, market research group Gartner said in a survey on Wednesday.

The survey found that Motorola had a 20.3 per cent global market share of consumers in the January-March period, up from 16.7 per cent a year earlier, but Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said the slim RAZR phone would run out of steam.

"Now that everyone else is going after slim, Motorola needs more form factors. They need something as good as a RAZR but not necessarily a RAZR," she said, after publishing quarterly data of mobile phone retail sales to consumers.

She dismissed Motorola's thin stick phone SLVR as the heir to the flip phone RAZR. "That's not a 'halo' product. They need an aspirational, exclusive phone and then take it to the masses," she said.

Motorola's market share gains in the quarter are the result of exactly that. The RAZR, which initially started selling at above $300 (euros) before subsidies, can now be obtained as a free subsidised phone with a modest subscription package.

This has helped Motorola gain significant market share in India and China.

Milanesi pointed to LG Electronics from South Korea which, instead of copying the RAZR like South Korean rival Samsung, came out with a distinct model known as the "chocolate phone" with touch-sensitive keypad controls.

"Such a phone is unique, and that's what consumers want. It's still slim, but different. The last thing you want as a consumer is that you're replacing your phone with something that looks like last year's model," Milanesi said.

LG grew its market share to 6.5 per cent from 6.3 per cent, while Samsung fell to 12.5 per cent from 13.5 per cent.

"Samsung is not convincing consumers. It lacks focus," she said.

Market leader Nokia's share grew to 34 percent from 30.4 per cent a year earlier, the result of a wider choice of products the company introduced following substantial market share losses two years ago due to a weak portfolio.

Nokia was the only top five company to sell more to consumers than it shipped to retailers, which means shops sold from inventories built up in the fourth quarter.

Gartner is the only research group to measure sales to end users. Others track shipments from vendors to retailers.

Sony Ericsson, with its successful focus on camera phone and Walkman music phones, grew its market share to 6.1 per cent from 5.5 per cent.

The market's No 6 BenQ Mobile saw its global market share dwindle to 3.5 per cent from 5.7 percent a year earlier -- the number includes Siemens's former phone business.

"Their new products are not shipping yet," said Milanesi.

The new products that will hit the market later this year are strong combinations of Siemens's technical experience and BenQ's consumer electronics expertise that will probably result in market share gains, Milanesi said.

A total 224 million phones were sold to consumers in the first three months of 2006, up from 181 million a year earlier, or a 24 per cent increase. Gartner forecasts sales of 960 million units for the full year, up from 816 million in 2005.