Flipkart launched its own smartphone brand, the Billion Capture+ this week in one of the most crowded smartphone segments in the most selling price band INR 10K-15K category, competing against the likes of RedMi from Xiaomi and MotoG from Motorola, and catering to the online buyers.
Billion Capture+ is a Made in India and Made for India smartphone. Billion Capture+ is Flipkart’s second attempt at establishing its own brand post failure of its tablet and accessories brand DigiFlip in the segment. DigiFlip was discontinued in Dec 2016. In comparison to the tablet market which over the years has become increasingly dependent on B2B business, Smartphones is an all-together different ball game.
The 10K-15K Smartphone Price Segment: Highly Crowded and Competitive
According to the CMR Mobile Handset Review Report, the INR 10K-15K price band in smartphones witnessed 45% sequential growth in 3Q CY2017. With 40 players in this price band, the top 4 brands: Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo and Lenovo-Motorola hold >80% of forte . Oppo, Gionee, Huawei, Asus, & Nokia are the other significant brands at the above price band, leaving only 5% playing field for new entrants and other brands. For such brands, the potentially winning proposition for sales is a combination of price, design and specification.
Billion Capture+: The Specs
Flipkart’s fast charging is a major hardware differentiator for its Billion Capture+. In addition to its quick charging and the dual rear cameras, Billion Capture+ boasts of AI capabilities from Smartron’s IoT platform, tronX providing personalized user experience and unlimited cloud storage.
On the ground, Flipkart offers 130 service centers across India, auguring well for its customer base in Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns.
Beyond Specs: What Billion Capture+ translates for Flipkart?
Flipkart’s own ecommerce platform provides an edge to the Billion Capture+ brand. Flipkart has access to one of India largest datasets of online buyers. Analysis of this data provides Flipkart edge over other handset brands in terms of consumer behaviour, product planning, and supply chain distribution, among others. The Billion Capture+ smartphone will leverage such big data.
Until now, Flipkart was paying smartphone vendors to pre-install the Flipkart app on their phones. With Billion Capture+, Flipkart can leverage its own smartphone brand to push Flipkart app for free.
Billion Capture+ vs Amazon Fire Smartphone: Any lessons?
While Amazon Fire fizzled out due to the high pricing and lack of brand differentiation, the smartphone market has since matured. There has been a evolution in the mindsets of online smartphone buyers. Given that Flipkart has adopted a data-driven strategy, it will hold it good.
What Capture+ means for Flipkart’s Exclusive Smartphone Partners?
Will Flipkart’s Billion Capture+ translate into its exclusive partners shifting their loyalties to Amazon? Or, would the pie on Flipkart platform be large enough for Flipkart’s smartphone to have a soft landing, while giving good breathing space for its partners.
Launching a smartphone is just the first step. Retaining mindshare and building an enduring retailshare across Quarters is the tough part. Coupled with that, the Chinese dominance in both online and offline channels, alongside increasing consumer thirst for the best specifications and differentiators, means it’s a long road ahead for Billion Capture+.
Growing maturity of online buyers is likely to benefit Flipkart. Enhanced focus on after sales support, marketing, branding and future products in INR 6,000-10,000 range can pave way for band’s future success.
Flipkart claimed that the Billion Capture+ sold out on its first run on November 16. While this augurs well, it remains to be seen how Billion Capture+ sustains and pans out over the next four Quarters.