Those of you who don’t know, but recently Indian smartphone company Micromax founder Rahul Sharma, has shared a video teaser, talking about how they are planning to re-enter the Indian smartphone market. At the end of this video, Rahul teased the name of upcoming smartphone series ‘In’ with a tagline of ‘In for India’. They are ready to launch in India on 3rd of November. But what about the product? Well we will come back to the new product later. But first I will present a quick intro of Micromax Smartphone company in India.
Micromax initially launched their smartphones in 2008 with focus on providing budget feature phones with longer battery life. It was a great challenge for this company as other big giants such as Nokia and Samsung were already present in Indian market. The initial approach by Micromax was instantly popular in rural areas which demanded low price phones with long battery life. Soon the company introduced their line of tablets, the Funbook series, in 2010 and Micromax A60 Android smartphone.
By the end of 2015, Samsung who was the leader in Indian market was surpassed by Micromax, the first Indian smartphone company to do so. This was a huge success for Micromax as they have now captured more than 15% market share in India, and this Indian startup company was now enjoying the wave of success.
But what were the main reasons behind Micromax failure? They had understood the Indian consumer mindset, they had the market, they were an established brand. Then what went wrong?
1- The entry of Reliance Jio – Jio entered in Indian telecom market, with Reliance then offering free 4G mobile data and free calls for switching to their network. Before Jio, mobile data was being offered by other network providers at a premium cost. The entry of 4G network with attractive new offers from Jio, led to new Smartphones model entry with 4G support.
Micromax was slow to adapt to this new change. Their smartphone models were mostly with 2G or 3G support. They were slow to upgrade their inventory with 4G smartphones and the company slowly started losing their market share. By 2016, the market share had fallen to 9% and by 2018, they only had 3.4% of the market.
2- Entry of Chinese Smartphones makers – Chinese smartphone companies like Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi saw the opportunity to expand their empire in India’s highly demanded market. They were ready to ship their latest smartphones with modern features and very aggressively placed low prices. These companies started making tie ups with offline and online retailers within the country. After the Make in India campaign started, Chinese companies started assembling their phones within the country. Making it more cheap and quickly available in the market.
3- Micromax lack of quality in products and after sales services – Micromax failed to provide their consumers with premium smartphone offerings. Not only their smartphones were lacking in quality and modern hardware, their phones were often labeled as ‘Chinese rebranded phones’. Their utmost priority was over the ‘quantity’ and not the ‘quality’ smartphone offerings.
As a tech company, Micromax should also have focused on the Research and Development part. And because of their average smartphone hardware and buggy softwares, many consumers were facing issues with their devices. And all these consumers were now facing the after sales services and support, which also disappointed many. I was also a proud owner of Micromax A114 smartphone. But after a year the smartphone had a small microphone issue. After jumping from one service center to another (since most were closed because of Micromax ongoing loss), the one center which offered help was ready to return my phone after 1 month so that they could look into the issue. Like who waits this much for their device to get repaired? Not only me, there was a huge line of frustrated customers cursing the company. All I am saying is, a successful company should not only focus on their sales, but should focus on gaining the loyalty from their customers, and after sale services and support is a big part of this.
Now coming back to the Video teaser shared by Rahul Sharma. In this video, the company didn’t provide any specifications or any glance of their upcoming ‘In’ series of smartphones. Instead they were busy talking about the clash between India and China over the border. Look I know being patriotic is good, but this should not be mixed in a smartphone company teaser. Instead Micromax should have focused on their new product launch by providing the details of how their smartphone is different from other ones. Take any company as an example who highlights ‘faster performance’, ‘big cameras’, ‘biggest batteries’ or the new features added. Companies like Apple, whom you will rarely see comparing their own products with other companies’ products. Instead Apple will share the finest details of their phones. But Micromax is now taking advantage of Anti-China sentiments of Indian consumers and also promoting campaigns like “Aao karein Cheeni kum” on their official website and for me this is kind of a racist campaign.
|Micromax official website with campaign details
But Dear Micromax, Indians now have become smarter and you will need some quality products to crack our choice of smartphone. Certainly you can offer smartphones with higher prices but in the end Indians now prefer ‘Quality’ over ‘Quantity’. I would love to see Micromax setting their place in the top smartphone makers list of the world, but not starting with a campaign like this.