For Lenovo, the dual brand strategy of launching Motorola and Lenovo smartphones online has worked well in India, and now the company plans to apply this same strategy in the offline market as well. Lenovo Mobile Business Group head Sudhin Mathur sees this as the way forward for both Motorola and Lenovo brands. “I think now, our dual brand strategy worked in online, and it will work equally more in the offline as well,” he said in an interaction with IndianExpress.com on sidelines of the Moto Z2 Play launch in India.
“You will see us being more aggressive in offline retail channel as well, from marketing point of view, etc. We aim to reach 10,000-12,000 retail outlets, and then grow from there. Our dual brand strategy is about the proposition that we go out with, and the consumers that we target. Now the plan is to take the whole dual brand experience into the offline space,” explained Mathur.
He explains that both online and offline markets are big opportunities in India, and while the company has been a strong player in the online segment, it now wants to move to the next big growth phase. “The next growth for us will only come when we’re equally dominant player in the retail channel, which is a very sizeable segment as well,” he added.
While Motorola and Lenovo smartphones play in the same price band, Mathur says they attract two very different kind of consumers. “Motorola is attracting a consumer who is more brand conscious, looks for a trustworthy brand, and not so many features in a phone as much as experiences. Lenovo consumer, on the other hand, is a little more experimental, younger, and always compares price value equation,” he said.
For the company, the strategy in 2017 will be to increase the Motorola brand visibility in the retail market. Motorola has launched its Moto Z2 Play smartphone in India, which comes at Rs 27,999 and this phone will be available offline as well. While Z2 Play is slimmer than its predecessor, there’s a huge camera bump on the rear. The company says this is to accommodate Mods that a customer will use with Z2 Play. “This is not a phone which people will use without a Mod,” argues Mathur.
While Motorola has reduced the battery size Z2 Play to 3,000mAh from 3,500mAh in Z Play, the company is confident it won’t affect battery performance thanks to the newer processor and battery optimization features.
“Maybe from a specification point, it may seem like it is less, but from performance it is similar to the previous generation as well. I’ve used both the phones, and they last one and a half day or so for me. This phone will not die out on you within a day. In fact, it will last you more than a day on an average, even with more robust usage as well,” he pointed out.
While the Moto Z2 Play is a more mid-range premium smartphone, it is the affordable smartphone segment, or the sub Rs 10,000 category, which is currently hot right now. Chinese brands like Xiaomi have been launching a slew of phones across price categories ranging from Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000; Lenovo isn’t far behind either.
Lenovo Vibe K5 smartphone, which has been updated with a newer Snapdragon 616 processor, K6 Power and the latest Moto C is a budget offering. “We have products in the low tier as well like the Moto C. That is being targeted to a very different set of consumers – an extremely brand conscious consumer, who only want to buy a product from a brand they can trust,” he said.
“Both Lenovo and Moto are pretty much as the same levels in terms of market shares currently. Moto’s competition is very different,” Mathur added.
Currently, Motorola isn’t planning to bring Mods to its affordable smartphones. Rather, we could see affordable Mods instead in the near future. “Mods is not about affordability, it is about what else can you do with the phone, so the whole point is widening that space rather than prices. As innovations will keep coming up, prices will go up and down at some point of time,” explained Mathur.
Motorola has sold over 3 million Moto Z series smartphones globally. Though Mathur didn’t disclose India-specific details, he said the response has been pretty good. In India, Moto Z and Moto Z Play smartphones went on sale in October last year. “In India, our Mods attach rate is about 15-20 per cent. The Mods attach rate has grown to about 40 per cent globally, while in India we’re still growing,” he added.
Disclaimer: The correspondent is in Goa, attending the Moto Z2 Play launch at the invite of Motorola India.