Micro change, Max expectations!

Faisal Kawoosa, Head - New Initiatives

Faisal Kawoosa, Head - New Initiatives

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Strengthening ‘Yu’ should have been the focus

Micromax, the de facto No2 of the India mobile handset market, has contributed a lot towards the growth of the industry, Smartphones and finally the Indian brands. Over the years, it has been perceived as a trendsetter brand by leading the industry in many disruptions. Its Phablet in sub-10k category not only rattled the industry, but resulted in the growth of Smartphones in India. It would not be wrong to say that Micromax empowered the common man with a Smartphone in his hand. Its success also encouraged others and brands like Lava, Karbonn and Intex followed suit and emerged as accomplished brands from the soil.

After a lot many phases of experimentations such as–giving a global image to the brand, establishing itself as a premium segment brand, extending the portfolio into other devices like TVs, bringing in Cyanogen into India and finally paving way for the separation of ownership with that of management, Micromax yesterday revamped the entire brand.

It now has a more vibrant logo, energizing the brand.  The ‘fist’ perhaps signifying the impact on the industry still remains there, but ‘Nothing but Anything’ is now ‘Nuts: Guts: Glory’.

Besides, it launched 20 odd devices, 15 of which were phones.  This will be a herculean task for Micromax to equally push all these models into the market with same effort and energy.  And, the big question is, will it be able to keep the expected industry refresh rates after launching so many devices in a jiffy?  Irrespective of how many it launched, the ecosystem will expect from it more launches in the near future and is Micromax ready with more products with substantial differentiation in the pipeline?

These ‘cosmetic’ changes will not help Micromax considerably to get back its glory.

Through the years, 2013 to 2014, it stood 3rd in the overall mobile handset market and in 2015, it was next to Samsung.  But this growth couldn’t be capitalized for several reasons and we saw it performing not so well towards the end of 2015. In fact, the results for 2016 also reflect the same. It slipped to 4th position during the first two months of 2016 and as of today, it stands after Samsung, Intex and Lava. However, we expect some better results as we close the first quarter for 2016.

Yu, which is its strategic brand and strong contender against other rivals with its LTE, e-commerce, youth-oriented features, etc, should have been the focus of all this revamp.

As compared to 138% growth in shipments from 1Q to 3Q (the peak quarter for 2015) for Micromax Smartphones, Yu registered a whopping 288% growth. Though it contributed around 14% to Micromax’s Smartphone sales in the peak quarter of 2015, Yu holds the potential for Micromax to lead the level of growth that the company is pursuing.

For Micromax, it would have been much realistic to make Yu the brand for Smartphones and create that as a brand of the future for the company.  Even this was required only and only if it was really feeling the need to change its identity.

To me, there was no such need and it is unlikely to have any substantial fresh infusion to the growth of the company.  Rather it should have developed Yu as the brand of future with a premium orientation and should have continued to cater to the large Feature phone market as well as the entry-level Smartphone segment.

Somewhere, I see the answer within its new tagline only.  It has the glory to rely upon, but needs some nuts and guts to show its past glory.

It has to resurface as the trendsetter Indian brand and nothing else will do.

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