A few days ago, while cleaning my drawer, I came across my old Micromax mobile that was bought in 2014 for around Rs. 7,000. Apart from diving into nostalgia, a question popped up in my mind – what happened to these phone brands that were leaders in the Indian phone market from 2013 to 2015?
Here are some of the reasons I feel led to their downfall:
1) Lack of innovation – These companies were launching multiple handsets with nearly the same features in the below 15,000 rupee range. There was nothing new at all, their cameras were horrible, phones had constant lag issues and no software updates. The people running these companies probably never had any long-term views.
2) Poor quality and bad customer care – The phone that I had mentioned earlier barely lasted 8 months (I never broke it, it had battery issues, constant lag and bad call quality, making it next to impossible to use) and I was not alone, most of the people I knew who were using these brands were tired complaining about the same things. Poor customer care was another issue that led to their downfall.
3) Jio effect – In 2016, when Jio launched, the Indian phone brands were still running 3G tech on most of their phones and many couldn’t use the Jio SIM to its full potential. This led to people moving towards 4G handsets.
4) The Chinese invasion – Oppo, Vivo, Xioami and other Chinese brands were setting the markets on fire with their low cost but good quality phones. Their phones were too good to be a deal and people were buying their phones with full enthusiasm.Plus their phones supported 4G! (I myself couldn’t get my hands on a Xiaomi phone in two of their flash sales which would end in less than a minute, such was their demand!)
5) Customer is the King – Finally, people were comparing these Chinese phones with Indian ones and the latter had lost their ground. Companies should understand that customers are not fools, if they fail to deliver, people would never buy their phones or any of their products again due to past experience. Also, people are willing to pay a premium for good quality phones these days as phone is the only gadget that people have with themselves nearly the whole day.
Finally I do still believe that if the Indian phone companies are willing to invest good money into R&D and are willing to take risks they still have a chance. (It’s been 3 years since their downfall and they still haven’t done anything to make a comeback).