India’s two largest online marketplaces — Flipkart and Amazon — have helped give a new shot of life to some global smartphone and electronics brands that have struggled to make it big in India on their own.
BlackBerry, TCL, Asus, Honor, Nokia, Thomson, Inalsa and Kodak, which either failed to crack the Indian market or withdrew from it, have not only made an impressive comeback but are also expanding and entering new categories after achieving record sales, senior executives of the two marketplaces said. Flipkart and Amazon have handheld these brands — from providing consumer insights to developing products and expanding into new categories.
They have helped by enabling faster payment, reducing the credit period and providing a marketing push, executives of these companies said. Asus and Huawei’s Honor smartphones, which were relaunched in India through Flipkart, achieved sales of 1 million for the first time. Honor was the 5th-largest smartphone by market share in India in the first quarter, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research.
TCL sold almost 3 lakh television sets in India so far this year, becoming the largest brand in the category for Amazon. It will soon venture into household appliances such as ACs, refrigerators and washing machines. Flipkart is helping co-create products for brands with which it has long-term relationships by providing deeper consumer insights that are otherwise difficult to get, said senior director Ayyappan Rajagopal.
On Amazon, BlackBerry is among the best-sellers in premium smartphones, while TCL dominates in large screen televisions, vice president (category management) Manish Tiwari said. Bosch created the dishwasher category and Nokia is among the top brands even with a strong offline presence, he said. Dinesh Sharma, a director at Asus India, said the brand will soon offer devices in a range of price points, including the sub-Rs 10,000 segment, where it will launch two smartphones.
Asus currently operates in the Rs 10,000-15,000 and Rs 30,000 price points. Amazon and Flipkart do not charge strategic partners for consumer insights and they also take care of marketing, advertising and distribution, which make it easier for these brands to take another shot at the market without incurring a large working capital outflow.
Several of these brands have now received four star-plus consumer ratings at Amazon, which is testimony to their sales and quality. For instance, the sales which BlackBerry’s first re-launch model last year achieved would have been impossible unless it would have tied up with 1000 offline stores in 150 cities,” Tiwari said. Huawei and Honor consumer product VP (sales) P Sanjeev said it sold 2 million handsets on Flipkart alone this year.
“Flipkart provides us consumer wish lists which help in product development. And the market reach we have received through e-commerce, even in the smallest of towns, would have been difficult to achieve otherwise,” he said. An HMD Global spokesperson said there were over a million responses when it launched a Nokia model on Amazon last year and the newer online-only models are getting sold out on Flipkart within minutes.
The success of these global brands in online sales follows similar results for local companies such as Vu, BPL, Kelvinator and Mitashi. Ecomm now accounts for almost 35 percent of overall smartphone sales and 15 percent for televisions in India. – Economic Times