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Chinese phone brands ring changes in India

News, 23 June 2017
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MUMBAI: Chinese smartphone makers have more than trebled their share of the Indian market over the past year, new research has shown, helped in part by significant marketing expenditure.

In the first quarter of 2017, Chinese brands, including Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, claimed a 51% share, up from 15% in the equivalent period of 2016, according to a study by India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).

Over that time the share of domestic Indian makers slumped from 41% to 14%, The Hindu reported. Market leader Samsung crept up from 25% to 28% while the share of global/others fell from 20% to just 7%.

Sales at Vivo and Oppo leapt seven and nine times respectively in the last financial year, with Ind-Ra predicting their sales will continue to increase by 40% to 50% this financial year.

The analytics company noted the superior technological capabilities of Chinese brands and added that Indian manufacturers had been slow to respond.

Further, Indian makers have limited marketing budgets when compared to their Chinese counterparts, as evidenced by the latter's investment in cricketing properties, from the IPL to the national team.

"Our debut last year with IPL helped us achieve tremendous brand recall across the country," Vivek Zhang, chief marketing officer at Vivo India, told the Economic Times. "Brand recall jumped in an extraordinary manner supported by our 360-degree communication and pioneering product launches."

Vivo is expected to be bidding again for IPL sponsorship rights, along with rival phone manufacturers including Indian manufacturer Intex, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reported to have set the base price at Rs 120 crore per year – or 50% more than previously – for a five year deal. The BCCI is expected to announce its title sponsor within the next week.

Data sourced from The Hindu, Economic Times; additional content by WARC staff

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