Fringe brands step up phone launches to cash in on Covid-induced surge in demand
- Online Date: 2020/10/05
- Modify Date: 2020/10/08
Source: ET Telecom / Himanshi Lohchab / Oct. 5, 2020
Brands like LG, ASUS, Karbonn, Gionee, iTel, Infinix, Tecno, Motorola, Nokia, Sony and Honor have all scampered into the market with new smartphone launches to seize the opportunity created by huge demand for budget phones and anti-China sentiment in the midst of the Covid pandemic.
New Delhi: There will be no dearth of choice for Indian smartphone shoppers looking beyond the most popular brands this festive season. Brands like LG, ASUS, Karbonn, Gionee, iTel, Infinix, Tecno, Motorola, Nokia, Sony and Honor have all scampered into the market with new smartphone launches to seize the opportunity created by huge demand for budget phones and anti-China sentiment in the midst of the Covid pandemic. According to Counterpoint data, out of 43 launches of smartphone models and variants in August and September, almost a quarter have come from the fringe brands, for the first time in years. Analysts, though, expect the smartphone biggies to swing back into action in October.
Industry analysts are expecting the cumulative market share of the smaller brands by volume to increase from 5% to 8% in the September quarter. India’s smartphone market currently is dominated by the likes of Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, Oppo and Realme. “This is after a long time that we are seeing renewed energy from these companies due to emergence of new use cases such as e-learning, which is primarily driving the growth of the smartphone market post-Covid,” said Shilpi Jain, research analyst at Counterpoint.
Popular consumer electronics brand LG said it has already ramped up smartphone production in its factories by 10 times from pre-Covid capacity and will further enhance it by 15 times by Diwali. Leading featurephone brand Karbonn said it aims to particularly address the e-learning gadget market. “We will be launching Karbonn smartphones with 6 inches screen size in November and also foray in the tablet segment,” said Pradeep Jaina, MD, Jaina Group, which houses Karbonn, Gionee and Sansui brands.
In terms of value, the manufacturing output of smartphones, keeping Samsung, Xiaomi, Apple and the BBK group aside, is expected to rise from 7%-9% to 12%-15%. “Manufacturing output, for domestic demand and exports, is close to Rs 1.8 lakh crore currently from players such as Lava, Micromax, Motorola, Nokia and Transsion Group (iTel, Infinix, Tecno),” said Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman, industry body ICEA. “We estimate it to increase upto Rs 2.4 lakh crore in 2021-22.” LG, Lava, Transsion, Micromax, Nokia, Karbonn and Gionee assemble their phones in-house while ASUS does it via contract partner Foxconn. Lenovo-Motorola is in talks with Dixon Technologies and Lava to manufacture $1billion worth of smartphones, ET had reported.