Can Sony Cement Itself To 3rd Place In The Indian Mobile Market?

The Indian mobile market has seen an incredible growth over the last few years, with a host of international brands establishing their base here and making their wares available to Indian consumers.

As such, this has led to an intense rivalry in all segments of the market between manufacturers, as all of them are vying to outsell one another.

Micromax and Samsung are leading others as they look to build on what they have achieved over the last few years. Manufacturers like Sony and LG are also looking to join the fray this year, as they boast a bevy of new offerings that will be well-suited to attract Indian consumers. Let’s take a look at the market scenario as a whole to gleam information on which manufacturer has been doing well over the years.

Micromax’s rise in the market

Micromax has risen to be the largest Indian mobile manufacturer. Originally started as a software consulting firm under the name of Micromax Informatics Limited, it has entered the mobile market in the year 2008.

Since then, it has gained considerable market share and consumer attention thanks to its low-cost offerings that boasted features that were not available in budget devices at the time. Currently, it sells more feature handsets than all other Indian manufacturers combined, and sits in the 2nd place in the smartphone category, just behind Samsung. It is 3rd in terms of gross unit sales in the Indian market.

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The reason for its meteoric rise is obvious. Micromax entered the market at a time when the only budget alternatives were Chinese-branded mobiles that offered no guarantee, had an abysmal build quality and lacked any usable features. With its low-cost offerings that boasted features like dual-SIM and better battery life, it managed to strike a chord in the Indian market. Its latest offering, the Canvas HD A116, is also geared to take the fight to Samsung’s Galaxy Grand, as Micromax looks to build on its success by consolidating the mid-range segment also.

What can Sony do to gain a foothold in the Indian Market?

To say that Sony is facing a battle on the mobile front would be an understatement. Ever since it broke its alliance with Ericsson, it has been looking to re-invent its mobile business so that it can contend with the likes of Samsung. While the Indian mobile market is mainly focused on budget mobiles, there is a strong user-base in the country for the high-end segment.

Sony’s shortcomings are not that they do not have a strong contender. With the Sony Xperia Z, they have shown that they are still as innovative and bold as they used to be in the 1980s, when they unleashed the Walkman revolution on the world. Sony’s main drawback lies in marketing and in getting the everyday consumer interested in their offerings.

This is a situation that is not isolated to Sony. However, it can take a leaf out of Micromax’s book when it comes to marketing. In its early days, Micromax was very creative in its marketing, by launching a host of commercials that were tacky, but somehow managed to gain consumers’ interest in its offerings.

While Sony does not need to go to such significant lengths, it has realised that it needs to be more aggressive in its marketing efforts, and the results can be seen in the new Xperia Z commercials. Sony is using a mix of new and old-age advertising methods to generate interest in the Xperia Z, from YouTube ads to billboards to TV commercials.

However, having a mobile doing well in the high-end segment does not guarantee that Sony will be able to turn its fortunes around. While the Xperia Z is sure to do well, Sony is also launching a set of budget mobiles that will form the Xperia E series that will sell at around Rs. 10,000. It is also targeting the mid-tier segment with offerings like the Xperia SP.

Sony currently has 9% of the market share in the smartphone category, and is looking to double its share by the end of this year. With it covering all segments with products that go head-to-head with what Samsung and others can offer, the 3rd place in the Indian mobile market is not as daunting a task as it was.

Conclusion

It is clear that Sony is trying aggressively to consolidate itself as a leader in the mobile arena in India. Not only does it have strong offerings, it is also marketing them effectively so that it can gain significant revenues. However, other manufacturers are not lying idly by. HTC is set to launch the One this month, and Samsung will have the Galaxy S4 out next month. While this is sure to lead to an intense rivalry amongst the manufacturers in the coming months, this year might just turn out to be Sony’s.