Thursday, March 18, 2010

Time was when someone said handsets, and if you happened to be in India, you intuitively thought Nokia, Samsung or Sony Ericssion.

But today, a clutch of small and big players are straining to break the market mould. Surbhi Chawla meets up with some fringe players to get a handle on their strategies for changing the market matrix...

Vivek Bansal, a Meerut (65 kms. away from Delhi) based distributor of mobile phones is very happy these days. And the reasons for his joviality don’t happen to be the Nokias and Samsungs of the world, but a lesser known brand (at least in the case of mobile phones) – Intex. Just a mention of the brand name and that sudden spark in his eyes is proof enough of how fast Intex handsets are flying off the shelf.

However, this was not the situation six months back when Bansal started stocking Intex mobile phones along with the brand’s other computer peripherals. He was sceptical about the success of the brand in a world that was ruled by the big daddies of the handset world. He was surprised (yes, pleasantly) though at the positive customer response. As one of the key distributors for Intex mobile phones in and around Meerut today, Bansal feels that his cash register rings almost every hour. “The business is now getting brisk as dealers are becoming confident about the brand. We are now able to sell about 1,200-1,500 units in a month on an average,” he reveals.

Intex is not the lone player adding to the joy of distributors like Bansal. Of late there have been many new handset makers that have realised the tremendous potential in the Indian handset market, particularly in the entry level segment. Fly Mobile, Spice Mobile, Lava, Karbonn, Lemon, airphone, BYOND TECH, Intex, Orpat, Usha Lexus, Rage, eTouch, Gee Pee, Pagaria, Magicon, Onida, Micromax ... phew, hope you agree that the list of wannabes is really big.

In India, currently about 8-10 million new subscribers are being added every month. Most of these new customers are now coming from India’s tier II and tier III towns. And since despite their best efforts, Nokia, Samsung and Motorola have not really managed to be present in every nook and cranny of the country, these players are happily reporting robust sales in these markets.

Explains a gleeful Shripal Gandhi, VP, Sales and Business Development, BYOND TECH, “The current tele-density in rural areas of the country stands at a mere 10%, but it’s expected to be close to a neat 60% of that by 2012. This means a growth of 600% going forward.” BYOND TECH is a part of the Canpex Group of Companies that had mainly restricted itself to the chemicals business till now. And given the potential, other small and big business groups are also jumping on the handset bandwagon to make a quick killing. Many of them have never been in the B2C segment and are mugging up every page of their marketing handbook to grab a slice of the market.

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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