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Micromax aims to recapture its market share in next two quarters: Rahul Sharma

Even as Chinese companies are dominating the Indian smartphone market, has the home-grown brand Micromax missed the bus? Micromax’s co-founder Rahul Sharma thinks otherwise.

tech Updated: Aug 23, 2017 15:16 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Micromax,micromax india,micromax smartphone market india
An employee stands at the counter of Micromax mobile phones at a showroom in New Delhi. Photo: Reuters

For last couple of quarters, the Indian smartphone market has been dominated by a range of Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Vivo and OPPO among others. Despite a shrinking market share, Samsung has retained the top spot. But, it’s the Indian smartphone brands which have been the biggest casualty to the influx of these Chinese players.

Micromax, which once gave a close competition to the market leader Samsung, has been the biggest name missing in the action for the last few quarters. Micromax attempted at a revival in April 2016 with a ‘Nuts, Guts & Glory’ campaign. Based on the last quarter reports by IDC, the Indian smartphone company couldn’t really revive the glory.

Enter 2017. Micromax this year launched a few devices which were strategically targeted at different price categories. This included Evok series of budget smartphones, a premium Canvas Dual 5, and Bharat series of entry-level phones. But, is it too late for Micromax? Ahead of the Canvas Infinity launch, I met Micromax’s co-founder Rahul Sharma.

Rahul told Hindustan Times that Micromax, in the meanwhile, had taken a step back in order to observe how the market plays out. Now that there’s clarity on how the market is evolving and what the competition is doing, Micromax is now all set to go aggressive, he said. Rahul also stressed that Micromax does not intend to follow the business models of other brands.

“We will go back to our market share. This quarter we will take our volume leadership. After that, our quest is to capture the market share in the next two quarters,” he said.

“Micromax is known for value for money products, not cheap. This is what we have demonstrated for so many years. So, this is why we decided to step back, to let the dust settle. We’ll stick to our core strengths, which is, offering value for money products,” Rahul said.

“I think the move to step back has paid off because we have not burned out ourselves. As an organisation, we’re still profitable, which is very important,” he added.

Micromax says that its Bharat series has been a success with more than 1 million devices sold within three months. The company points out that it has sold more than 2.83 million devices in the last one month.

According to Counterpoint Research’s latest data, Micromax’s market share in the second quarter of this year stood at 5.3% and was ranked at the sixth position. Parv Sharma, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, told Hindustan Times, “Indian brands did well during Q2, 2017 leveraging on their strength in Rs 3,000-Rs 5,000 segment which contributed to almost two-third of their sales.”

“To strengthen their presence in the market Indian brands like Micomax should upgrade their portfolio toward higher price bands, where they will face direct competition from Chinese brands. In such a scenario, leaner portfolio followed by in-house design and partnerships with other content partners can help increase their presence in higher price bands, an activity which won’t happen overnight. Till then they need to play to their strengths,” he added.

Latest data on Indian smartphone market (IDC)

Micromax was among top five smartphones in India until Q3, 2016. “Micromax slips to third position with a 32 percent decline in smartphone shipments over previous quarter. Vendor is facing tremendous pressure from other local vendors in sub US$ 100 segment and with Chinese players in US$100-150,” said the IDC data for Q3, 2016.

When asked about Micromax’s product launch cycle, Rahul said that the company will not be launching a lot of phones but “focused” ones. “This doesn’t mean we will have just four phones in the year. We’ll continue our end-to-end approach, covering all major price categories,” he elaborated.

Rahul did not reject the idea of having more premium Micromax smartphones after the Canvas Dual 5. But, he stressed on the company’s extensive focus on products with more mass-appeal.

Micromax has long partnered with MediaTek but it’s gradually embracing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets, which are generally perceived as superior SoCs. “We will use more and more Qualcomm chipsets, but not necessarily the top-end ones,” he added.

First Published: Aug 23, 2017 15:16 IST