Quality, innovation and trend setting design ideology are the keys to Honor’s success in India
Honor sold 2 million units in the first half of 2018 alone as compared to 0.6 million units in 2017. This means that the brand registered over 300% growth within the first 6 months of the year. This shows the magnitude of traction that Honor is getting in India and is quite successful in creating a niche for itself despite the presence of its parent company Huawei. Haider Ali Khan had a word with P. Sanjeev, Vice President, Sales, Huawei Consumer Business Group on brand’s perspective, future, competition and more.
Honor has earned a name for itself among smartphone users. What are the key attributes to your success in India?
Quality, innovation and trend setting design ideology are the key attributes to our success in India. Through all our devices, we are offering our customers the latest technology with high end features across different price points. India is a dynamic market with an ever-evolving untapped customer base across platforms. If we delve deep into the different segments of the customer base in India, we see a lot of opportunities when it comes to catering to these audiences whose demands are evolving and changing every day. This helps us cater to customers across segments and show them what we have to offer. Majority of India’s population are under the age of 35 who are tech savvy and are well aware of global developments. We try our best to match their expectation levels when it comes to innovation. Meanwhile, India is a country of vibrant colours and aesthetic sensibilities; so we equally pay attention to our design ideas. This is the core strategy behind Honor’s success and future development.
During your presentation it was mentioned that Honor has been growing at 300% and 400%. How’s that possible or its just applying the marketing strategy of multiplying X by 100? What exactly is your present market share in India?
We have been doing extremely well in the market both globally as well in India. Honor has just created a milestone with record sales across the globe. Honor was the top Singles’ Day performer in terms of sales volume and revenue under smartphone category on both Tmall.com and JD.com, the two biggest e-commerce platforms in China. With its India-first-approach, as per the IDC report, the brand has registered an unprecedented growth of 281% in 2018 H1 and it is among the top 2 brands in the online segment in Q2, 2018 on the back of several new launches across price segments. Furthermore, Honor sold 2 Million units in the first half of 2018 alone as compared to 0.6 Million units in 2017. This means that the brand has registered over 300% growth within the first 6 months of the year. The brand sold 6 million units of the recently launched Honor 8X globally.
2018 has been an essential year for Honor. Based on our dual brand strategy over the years, we committed ourselves to listening to our users, and directing our R&D to meet those needs.
Honor has a range of budget to premium smartphones but what’s the target segment because if we move beyond 20K, Huawei comes into play?
Huawei represents the premium category and Honor the younger generation with the similar innovation and R&D capability. Both the brands target different market categories and our endeavour is to change the perception through the supreme quality of Honor and reinforce the technology leadership of Huawei in India. Huawei has been doing business in India in different segments like telecom, home devices (Wi-Fi router, CPE, data cards), devices (gears, tablets, STB) and with the recently launched Huawei P20 Pro and P20 Lite, it has become the best telecom company in the world known for offering cutting-edge technology. Whereas Honor is a brand for the millennials of the country who are always in search of something more. In a short span, we have established Honor as a brand that is for the youth by offering them top-notch devices at different price points. Catering to a different set of target audience, both the brands enjoy great privilege in their set of areas.
Your recent launches suggest that Honor is following the style and design statement of Huawei. Is that a feasible option to hold buyers without pinching too much on to their pockets?
Like I mentioned earlier, Honor has focused on users and created value for consumers by adhering to its three core strategic control points: quality, innovation, and services. This is the core strategy behind Honor’s success and future development. Honor aims to create a premium smartphone experience for its users at great value and this will always remain at the core of what we do. We focus on bringing the most relevant features to our customers; features that are innovative and future-ready. We wish to launch devices which are a blend of stellar aesthetics and technology at different price points. Honor will continue to create differentiated products and create a diverse portfolio with different price points for the customers.
The competition is super aggressive with the revamp of Nokia in India. How is Honor preparing itself to counter both Xiaomi and Nokia?
While we would not like to comment on competition, at Honor we believe that being a part of a super competitive market, one must evolve as per the market needs. Swiftness and nimbleness are two elements that make a brand standout.
The real challenge is to create a unique identity from the competition and make a mark in the market. In a competitive smartphone market like India, I believe companies need to be more committed to self- improvement as an opportunity, to better themselves in the process of winning the competition.
India is a dynamic market with an ever evolving untapped customer base across platforms. With so many brands battling to make a mark in a cluttered smartphone market like India, it becomes imperative to study the prospects and use these opportunities to make your presence felt. Unlike other smartphone brands, Honor has decided not to increase the prices of its smartphones during this ongoing tough phase of the smartphone market globally. Honor stands tall during this tough time and is focused to keep its customer satisfaction above the rest. In India, we believe that we are launching the right innovations at the right time at different price points which is helping us to counter our competitors.
How do you summarize the year 2018 for Honor?
2018 has been an essential year for Honor. Based on our dual brand strategy over the years, we committed ourselves to listening to our users, and directing our R&D to meet those needs. Honor sold 2 Million units in the first half of 2018 alone as compared to 0.6 Million units in 2017. This means that the brand registered over 300% growth within the first 6 months of the year. Our devices have received phenomenal response from the Indian customers.
We have created records on platforms like Flipkart for maximum number of phones sold. Our best-seller smartphones like Honor 9 Lite, Honor 7X and Honor 10 have been widely appreciated by our Indian customers. We have raised the bar by introducing AI chipset with independent NPU in our flagship smartphones like Honor 10 and View10, which offer AI photography, AI assistant and AI UI for a better user experience.
As per the IDC report we registered an unprecedented growth of 281% in 2018 H1 and it is among the top 2 brands in online segment in Q2, 2018 in India. Honor recently created a milestone by selling more than 1 Million Honor Smartphones during the Diwali festive season sale which accounted for a whopping 300% Y-o-Y growth as compared to 2017. This reaffirms our strong position in the Indian market and gives us the confidence to stay committed to our strategy and offer topnotch devices to our India customers at different price points. We are delighted to see our diligent efforts finally translating into success.
Do we wish to see Honor going brick and mortar soon as the brand is getting lots of traction among buyers?
We have been doing well with our online distribution strategy. Honor was envisioned as a young, energetic e-brand for digital natives, aiming to create better and accessible mobile internet experience for young generations. Having also diversified into the offline space, we are focusing on bolstering our presence across cities, introducing innovative value for money devices and better after sales centres. Our potential customer living in Andaman also can purchase our products because of our aggressive online strategy. Our main objectives are building a better mobile relationship for the users, healthy growth of offline channel and focus of online vendors on expanding their footprint in retail channel.
What would be the new advancements in mobile technology in 2019 and what will be the contribution of Honor to it?
Mobile technology is evolving and new advancements are imperative to sustain in a cluttered market. Artificial Intelligence is the buzzword from the last two decades in the technology space. AI has developed many folds in the past few years due to powerful machine learning and deep learning algorithms. We can expect smartphone companies to thrive more on AI with upcoming smartphones having more and more of AI capabilities especially in the camera setup and become a common feature across all smartphone segments. We can expect companies to focus and harness the power of AI as this is the only medium to be cutting-edge in the near future.
With bold, innovative and future-ready intelligent products added to our portfolio, we will continue to deliver the best user experience to every consumer. We will build core competencies to lead future trends and strive to become a culturally vibrant tech brand loved by global consumers.
Does Honor India need a face for the brand in India?
We believe that our products speak for itself. However, we have engaged with a lot of celebrities in the past to promote our devices. We try to rope in celebrities whose persona and public image are synonymous to our campaigns which really help us bring the message across really well. This does not mean that we are completely refusing to bring in a face for the brand in India. Once the time deems fit and we feel the need to bring a face to the brand, we surely will.