After a few months of silence, India’s homegrown smartphone manufacturer Micromax Informatics is all set to launch a series of devices catering to what it believes is an emerging consumer base in the country. The company has already sent out invites for its next big launch, most probably a budget smartphone under its new Infinity series, on December 18. But there could be as many as a dozen new devices on offer by the end of this fiscal.
“The Indian consumer has come a long way in the past year or so. Players like Reliance Jio have done a tremendous benefit to the sector,” explains Micromax co-founder Vikas Jain, who is now anchoring the company’s smartphone business. “A set of consumers who were not even connected are now consuming data in huge amounts,” he tells indianexpress.com, adding how this kind of appetite for data was not seen earlier in the entry segment.
Micromax thinks this is an opportunity, especially when the JioPhone user starts looking for an upgrade and the service provider itself is not in a position to offer a better device. Jain is confident that Micromax will be able to offer a better device to this user at affordable price points.
“Jio has solved a big problem for this industry. There was no motivation for the feature phone users to upgrade to a better phone. Jio acquired this user and they have been exposed to the experience of data. When this user is consuming that amount of data, they quickly wants to move to the next level,” he says, adding how there is a growing demand for the 5-inch phone where there will be big price drops soon. Jain says Jio is keen to partner with players like Micromax to cater to this upgrade market.
Jain also sees an opportunity where the Chinese brands like Xiaomi are now serving the market. “In the sub-Rs 12,000 price point there is a lot of work that needs to be done. We will concentrate on that for now,” he says about the brand focus in the coming months. “There is a big chunk of the Redmi range users available for upgrades a now their aspirations are high,” he adds, giving more clarity on the segments he wants to focus on.
In fact, he adds that is has become easier now as the consumer preferences are much more defined. “There is more sanity here and you really don’t need to offer 20 devices as the buckets are no longer separated by Rs 500,” he says, adding how the segments are now defined as under Rs 5,000, then till Rs 7,500 and from this to Rs 10,000. This consolidation also helps a lot in managing the entire supply chain, for instance, he adds. Jain also hinted at the feature phone segment being lucrative now only for the “fringe players”.
Jain is also convinced that the offline channels, where his company has invested in heavily over the years, will not be taken over by online retail. Online will supplement and not replace, he says, because there is a limit to the numbers you can sell there. “You already see the online-only brands have hit an upside and are looking at offline to expand,” he explains. But that does not mean Micromax won’t sell online. Jain wants to keep that option open for the “20 per cent” users he says opts for this purely because of convenience.