Micromax in a span of merely five years, has metamorphosed itself from a company know initially as a vendor selling Chinese handsets to a conglomerate with offices in nine countries in addition to 23 across India, manufacturing mobile, data cards, smart-phones tablet – and now TV – giving big multinationals a run for their money.
Micromax currently leads the tablet market in India well ahead of giants like Apple, Samsung, Sony and Motorola, with a healthy growth y-o-y to become third largest mobile player. It has now forayed into home entertainment with flat panel Television sets and home theatre systems.
With this new division, Micromax is expecting to repeat the mobile phenomenon, a task which might seem uphill but when it comes to Micromax one can expect the unexpected. Given to the fact it has beaten the multinationals in the tablet market with a whooping share of 18.4 per cent as compared to 13.3 and 12.3 per cent market share enjoyed by Samsung and Apple respectively.
In branded handset market Micromax enjoys a healthy 8 per cent market share behind Nokia and Samsung and is currently 12th largest manufacturer shipping four million handsets worldwide as in 2011. The figures are quite impressive and showcase its strength.
For a late entrant like Micromax, let’s explore key to its success!
When Micromax started its journey in 2008, the branded handset market was dominated by big players read Nokia, RIM, Samsung and Sony Erricson, while as other players like Motorola, Panasonic and Sharp to name a few, had either made an exit or were back on the drawing boards working on revamping their strategies. Even home-grown companies like Spice had launched few handsets but was nowhere close to making a dent in the market.
With a sales figure of around 12 million mobile phones a month and a market worth anywhere between INR 28,000 cr (INR 280 billion a month), Micromax ventured into the Market with a clear aim to dominate it.
Based on the market survey which clearly showcased that in low end device market (sub INR 2000.00) category, the buyer is usually not interested in the brands rather they are more interested in the value for money offered, Micromax launched its first handset with a 30 days battery back and it was easily accepted by the rural market.
Also the fact that a consumer might be carrying more than One SIM in the same category, Micromax launched handset with dual SIM for tire II and Tire III cities which helped it to clock good sales.
Next in the line of products was QWERTY keypad handset for up-market youth who was equally interested in chat feature. The product was sold as a premium with a price tag of INR 5000.00. The product was an instant hit and everyone who could not afford the high end products from Nokia or Samsung was carrying one. To further enhance its offering Micromax launched a range of MTV co-branded mobile handsets in the market. This worked well for us as it instantly created brand recognition for the mobile phones.
The first phone, Micromax MTV X360, priced at just Rs 5,000, was equipped with 3D surround sound from Yamaha & Wolfson with a sleek steel finish, was what the low end market always demanded and literally forced the big players to re-work on their strategies.
The company does have many firsts to its credit when it comes to the mobile handset market, the 30-day battery backup, dual SIM phones, QWERTY keypads, dual reception mode handsets, universal remote control mobile phones etc – that too at a very low price point.
Micromax was equally aggressive in promotion and would create a huge buzz in both online and offline marketing space with every new launch. Keeping with its tagline “Expect the Unexpected”, Micromax brought Akshay Kumar on board as its brand Ambassador and launched India first Gaming phone (with motion sensors) even before the biggies did it.
With Akshay Kumar on board Micromax was spending INR 60cr in ATL and nearly 40cr in BTL Activities, which gave it enough eyeballs and created awareness for the product. Even those consumers who were never interested in Micromax were aware of the brand. This really helped it to differentiate itself from the rest of the brigade.
Apart from the Product, Price and Promotion Micromax has shown strength in another significant aspect that is distribution network.
For feature phones and tablets, the company has a three-tier distribution set-up, and for smart-phone and flat panel TVs, it’s a two tier model.
The three tier set-up includes 80 large partners, 2,500 small partners, followed by a network of 125,000 small retail outlets spread across the nation.
The other aspect of it success is that Micromax is one company that has managed to understand the Indian consumer psyche much better than the multinationals as well as the home-grown companies.
For its Entry level tablet Micromax’ strategy revolved around education and entertainment (edutainment). It tied up with Pearson, Everonn, Vriti (for education) and for entertainment it had tied with Bigflix, Hungama, Indiagames and Zenga. With it Micromax saw an impressive sale of 65,000-70,000 per month.
In the smartphone segment, the company incorporated applications that made its products stand out despite the low price stamp; it had Aisha with the same features as Apple’s Siri, a voice-controlled personal assistant. Micromax also launched a mobile messaging application HookUp.
With its latest offering Canvas and Canvas HD, Micromax is fast emerging as a serious contender to Samsung and other smart phones players. With sales of 100,000 to 150,000 smart-phones a month, Micromax has proved it mettle beyond doubt in the mobile handset market.
What differentiates Micromax from others domestic or Chinese players is the connect, it has created with its brand through innovation in product, strong promotion and right mix of distribution and pricing.
With a good spend on communication and value for money products designed for the consumers keeping price constraint in mind and with good distribution, Brand Micromax has been true to its tag line “Expect the Unexpected”.Posted: 26th February 2013 in Brand Story by Reetesh Singh
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