Lenovo-owned (HKG:0992) Motorola announced that it sold more than 3 million devices in India since re-entering the country in February 2014. The manufacturer is looking to increase its presence in the country, and will be establishing experience stores in the country this year.
Motorola’s growth in India
The introduction of the first-gen Moto G – which was the first device to be exclusively offered online – changed the dynamic of the e-commerce industry in India and paved the way for brands like Xiaomi and others that sell their wares exclusively online. Before Motorola made its re-entry into the Indian market, brick-and-mortar stores contributed to a majority of sales, and they were seen as a necessary component in marketing a handset in the country. That has changed over the course of 2014, with the e-commerce industry playing a more significant part when it comes to smartphone sales in the country.
Motorola saw heavy demand for the Moto G, reaching 500,000 sales in the first three months of the device’s availability. The Moto E also witnessed a similar demand, with Motorola selling over 280,000 units of the Moto E and 180,000 units of the Moto G within 30 days of their launch. The first-day sales of the Moto E totaled 55,000 units. The Moto X – which was introduced at the mid-tier segment – also did tremendously well in the country.
The manufacturer – which became the fifth-largest smartphone vendor in the country by August – reached the 2.5 million mark by November, with the last 500,000 sales occurring in under a month. The introduction of the second-generation Moto G and the new Moto X – with the wood and leather back options – allowed Motorola to challenge the likes of Xiaomi, as well as more entrenched vendors like Samsung (KRX:005930).
Maintaining momentum in 2015
Amit Boni, head of India operations for Motorola, said that the manufacturer is looking to redouble its efforts in the country, “which is a very critical market for us.” While not giving any specifics away, Boni mentioned that Motorola may unveil handsets in India. The Moto Maker customization utility, through which users can select custom colors, accents and back options for the Moto X, is also slated to launch in India soon, although a timeframe was not mentioned.
To continue its momentum in the country, Motorola will be establishing experience centers in major metropolitan areas, starting with Bangalore. The first store will commence operations in March, with subsequent stores following suit at a later stage in the year. Five to ten stores are planned for the next six to nine months. The stores will double up as service centers, and will also allow interested customers to try out Motorola’s devices before purchasing them.
The sales model itself is not going to change for Motorola as it continues to partner with Flipkart in 2015, but by having an offline presence, the vendor is looking to increase its visibility and market to a wider audience.
While the first-gen Moto G set the benchmark for affordable devices, the budget segment in India has become increasingly competitive since. Xiaomi’s Redmi 1S, for instance, offers a similar set of hardware features as the second-generation Moto G at half the price. Then there are alternatives from other vendors, like Huawei’s Honor Holly, Asus’ (TPE:2357) Zenfone 5, Yu Yureka and more.
Motorola has better build quality and brand recognition going for it, but other vendors are not far off in terms of offering a similar experience. Xiaomi has managed to sell over a million devices in the country since making its debut last July, and is intent on maintaining growth. Another area manufacturers are targeting is the software-driven services. Xiaomi is working on launching a series of features tailored to Indian users, while Micromax is working with Cyanogen in building a digital platform for Indian users. Samsung is also looking to refocus its efforts in this segment with the Z1, which is the South Korean vendor’s first Tizen-based mobile device.
With more and more companies adopting an online-only approach, Motorola will find it harder to maintain its growth. It should be interesting to see what the vendor has in store for 2015.