The New Indian Mobile phone consumer?
Do you remember! In 1995 when india had some selected mobile brands, then someone only think about phone that goes to crazy.
we have memories attached with the first mobile phone we owned black and white nokia phone
Many things have evolved since then and the Indian mobile industry has undergone a major transformation. Not all of us would be able to relate to those initial days when mobile phones just made their way to Indian markets and immediately emerged as one of the most exciting things of that time. Though, there is one mobile brand that we all can relate with effortlessly. Nokia!
Remember when you could easily find that mobile charger with a slim pin at all your friends’ and relatives’ place and which is why you never bothered to carry your mobile charger while stepping out; and that stupid snake would get tangled in his own body and then die; and that meeting of two hands while switching on your mobile phone and how can we miss that classic Nokia tune? No we can’t and neither the brand will let us do that. Nokia, in its latest launch, kick started the event with its signature Nokia tune. The brand which closed down its manufacturing unit in India on 1st November 2014, has now made a comeback with the launch of its iconic Nokia 3310
along with other offerings.
According to Shubho Sengupta, Brand Consultant, who believes that battery will be a game changer, opines that brands should integrate biometric technology into cheaper mobile devices and roll out Aadhar-friendly phones.
However, Prabhakar Mundkur, Chief Mentor, HGS Interactive Solutions, while sharing his own journey with Mobile Phones, revealed that the first mobile phones that he used in the 90s were Siemens and Motorola.
He further said, “I think the leading players were Philips, Siemens and Motorola in the 90s. Mobile phones I think came right after the car-phone which was a status symbol in the early 90s and was a precursor to the mobile phone. Nobody remembers it now but in the 90s Motorola was making processors before Intel and was considered a very high company.”
However, Prathap Suthan, Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle who recalls his first Siemens S8 in 1995 says, “At that time, it was Motorola; Nokia wasn’t around. Motorola had those big brick like phones at that time and then Ericson introduced smaller phones. After that it was Philips under the brand name of ‘Philips savvy phones’.
Through the Marketing Lens
Do you know how these marketers multiply their sales? What is that one mantra that they apply and the magic happens? It’s the game of USP. They know that where they need to strike and what will make the user click. They know that how to influence the buying behaviour of the consumer.
Let’s have a look at those formulas that the marketing experts have been using so far –
Game of USP – Most advertisements now-a-days we see talk about one specific feature of the product. Ever wondered why marketers overlook everything else and focus on just one specification? Because it makes an impact on the mind of the consumer and increases the chances of him making the final purchase.
Let’s take some examples; name any mobile brand and the USP or that one feature that helped the brand build its market will pop-up in your mind automatically. Nokia – Long lasting battery; Motorola – Android; Samsung – Technology; Sony – Sound; Apple
– iOS; BlackBerry – BBM; Micromax – affordability; VIVO
– Selfie; Google Nexus – Speed; OnePlus
– Dash Charger and so on.
Then and Now: How the Indian Mobile Phone Consumer has Changed Over the Years
Beyond Basics – Gone are the days of vanilla advertising; now brands think of storytelling, branded content and digital advertising. The new-age advertising goes beyond the product and its specifications. In fact, you would barely see any ad with a plain message and product specifications.
‘Hello Moto’ looked bizarre to many when Motorola said Hello to the world in 2016. Later on in March 2017 the brand came up with something quirkier and more captivating.
Nomit Joshi, Director - Marketing, Gionee India while sharing his views, said, “Gionee has always been synonymous with camera and battery. Our latest campaigns with Alia Bhatt and Virat Kohli talks about these two features. There has been a cultural shift and people take a lot of selfies these days. So even in your upcoming launches, we will be focusing on selfie and battery.”
Nokia, which recently announced P.V. Sindhu as Brand Ambassador, also rolled out three new mobile devices. Jyotsna Makkar, Head of Marketing,India at HMD Global, while commenting on the marketing strategy of Nokia in India after the re-launch, says, “There will be two focus areas for Nokia in India. One is the focus areas of our marketing strategy will be to make sure that we are putting out the product for most people so that they can try them. The second one will be to make sure that we evolve with the next chapter. #UniteFor is the campaign that we’ll be putting out across touchpoints.”
From 90s till Now
We’ve already recollected some memories from those good old days where there was no Google Maps and people would willingly take localities’ help to reach their destination. However, technology has changed a lot of things and the mobile industry is no exception. In fact, the industry has witnessed one of the biggest revolutions in the recent times. Some of the reports published in 2016 even suggested that India will have over 500 million mobile internet users by 2017.
In 1995, when India had very limited mobile brands with basic mobile devices, colour screens were introduced. Many of our friends also didn’t miss the opportunity to flaunt their colour screen mobile phones back then.
By 2002, other features like Bluetooth and camera, though not a fancy one like these days, made their space in a mobile device. Reliance CDMA phone had also made an entry during the time. And it just took one year for the brands to roll out a phone with a front camera. In 2003, Sony and Motorola changed the way people click pictures with their front camera phones.
Then and Now: How the Indian Mobile Phone Consumer has Changed Over the Years
Later in 2008, Apple made its mobile devices available in the Indian market and touch screen phones grabbed all the attention of the consumers at that time. Nokia didn’t let the brand enjoy the dominance in the touch screen space and rolled out its Nokia 5800 with touch screen. 3G phones become a reality in the same year.
Next year in 2009, HTC launched Android phones and dual-SIM phones were rolled out by Samsung. However, Nokia again didn’t let it go and soon in 2010 came up with Nokia C2 dual-SIM mobile phone.
This time in 2012, the Canadian phone manufacturer, Blackberry, entered into the space with its QWERTY phones. Though this wasn’t a new thing as Nokia’s Communicator 9000 had already been launched in 1996.
By 2015, the need of mobiles with more storage capacity was felt and HTC came up with HTC One ME. The device was enabled with 2TB micro SD card. Other brands, however, didn’t miss the opportunity to grab the market share by providing additional storage capacity, but HTC One ME steal the show.
Most recently, battery became a major concern for mobile manufacturers and this was when China’s BBK Electricals rolled out its OnePlus mobile phone with Dash Charger. In 2015, the brand sold 65k units in India and 900k units globally. Another major game changer in the Indian mobile market was selfie. Brands like VIVO, OPPO and Gionee took the market to storm last year with their selfie expert phones.
Behind the Scene
Most of us would know that how the Indian mobile industry progressed in the past few years. We would only know about brands that came into the market, some of them led the game, some just survived and a few simply vanished. But very few people were a part of the transition. But what led to that transition? Who were those people to put their minds behind all that?
Suthan, who believes that he is the culprit of Nokia’s damage in India, says, “When I started working on Samsung Mobile, my first task was to re-launch the brand. I believe Samsung, at that time, was about 2.5% and the market was dominated by Nokia with 85%. Consumers at the top end and at the bottom end were using Nokia. They had the Communicator on the top and Asha at the bottom end. The middle level was where Samsung came in. And not only Samsung, but a lot of other brands were also playing in the same space with their music phones, flip phones, camera phones
While sharing one of his experiences, Mundkur mentions, “A major anecdote in my own mobile phone history was when I lived in China in the 90s and I realised that while the landline call from Shanghai to Beijing was being charged at STD rates, my mobile call was charged at local call rates. It came as a bit of a shock to me.”
There must be a lot to know and a lot to share about mobile devices; not only their features and specifications but the rise and fall of various brands. How were they built and what caused the downfall. For now, let’s wait for the quarter to end to see which brand leads the graphs.