“Listen to your consumer, they know it better” says Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, Vice President- India & MENA, HMD Global

HomeInterviews“Listen to your consumer, they know it better” says Sanmeet Singh Kochhar, Vice President- India & MENA, HMD Global

India is one of the biggest and key focus markets for HMD Global, with the biggest opportunity in the premium feature phone segment says, Sanmeet Singh Kochhar in an Interview with Divya Mohindroo, My Mobile India.

The electronics & smartphone industry is humongous and very cut throat in terms of competition, So we would love to know HMD Global’s perception towards this market.

  • Timing is the number one factor that determines if a relaunch will be successful; If your idea comes too early, customers may not be ready for it. However, if your idea comes too late, you may not be able to squeeze in front of a market crowded with competitors. You can’t ignore timing even though there’s no scientific process for determining it.
  • We have the longest standing and the most trusted mobile phone company felt somewhere lost in the clutter of the plethora of mobile phones available in the market. While brands are spending millions of marketing and PR moneys on staying ahead of competition, we chose to stay away from the rat race and rebuild the brand bottom up through its compelling offerings in the feature phones and budget smart phone segments.
    • People love Nokia phones for its ethos and the experience which we provide backed by loyal consumer base
    • Today we are sitting on a goldmine of loyalists who are nostalgic about Nokia phones and the experience which we provide through our devices

Can you please tell us, that what is the most prominent target segment, does HMD Global strike for while releasing it’s product and how does its accessories provide value to its customers.

  • Consumers who are buying their first smartphones or upgrading from their first smartphone, in the budget/affordable segment have tremendous potential in a market like India and our plan is to tap this opportunity with innovative products that are relevant to the usage and utility of the masses. HMD Global’s focus will be building portfolio in features and mid- budget segments smartphones. We put our customers first, which reflects in our customer centricity and service offerings and that is what makes Nokia phones very desirable and trustworthy.
  • Given the current consumer sentiment in India, the legacy of trust in a brand is as important for many consumers, as the value they derive from their phone.
  • Last year, Nokia mobiles was rated as #1 Most Trusted by Counterpoint Research across the three key parameters of build quality, software and security upgrades and Android Enterprise Recommended phones

India is a massive market with quite a dense niche for tech products, so we are very keen to know the HMD Global’s market experience in India so far, mostly in terms of competition, market penetration, and local business conditions of India?

In past 5-6 years since our entry into India, we’ve had a steady performance in the market. Globally also, bi. We’ve had a great experience so far with interesting launches across smartphones, feature phones and tablets. Our entry level Smartphones range the  Nokia C Series has been a great success in this category. We have also recently launched our second tablet in India in the budget segment in India. Though it is too early to tell,  but our  recently -launched tablet, Nokia T10 has also received phenomenal response so far.

We have been growing at a 41% YOY and we plan to maintain a similar pace going forward too, which is primarily going to be feature phone and mid- segment budget smartphones.

Singh Kochhar, Vice President- India & MENA, HMD Global

HMD Global is one of the big market players, in the industry, and we are very interested to know HMD Global’s insights on the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity, that it considers while planning it’s business expansion in a market like India ?

Like I mentioned, India is a key market for us. We have been expanding considerably in India over the past few years with a diverse portfolio across smartphones, feature phones and now, tablets. One of the biggest opportunity for us is the premium feature phone segment. We recently launched, Nokia 2660 flip, Nokia 8210 4G and Nokia 5710 XpressAudio in this segment. All these feature phones are 4k+. They’ve had phenomenal performance in retail, and been very much appreciated by the media and our fans. Social media detox and reduced screen-times are increasingly becoming a focus in India, and people have started to prefer a simple modern feature phone as a secondary device. This is an opportunity we will continue to tap.

We also see much potential in the budget tablet segment. Our just-launched Nokia T10 has received a great response as well. We are also very keen on expanding our Make in India segment and exports, and we see much potential there.

Also the 5G launch in India is an exciting opportunity for us. We have bagged 102 contracts this year in India across 5G core, 5G radio, transport and visualisation of the core. We are very well positioned in India in terms of 5G, and will close more deals in the coming months.

In terms of challenges, India is indeed a competitive and highly-price sensitive market. We see this as an opportunity to push ourselves further to provide the best value across segments to our audience. We are committed to Made in India and all our feature phones, C series and G- series are made in India. In fact we have started exporting Nokia 105 from India and we are exploring opportunity for our other devices as we firmly believe Made in India, Made for the world.

What do you strike for while launching a new product, is it the quality or the price of the product, is it the combination of features & quality or the price & trend?

  • HMD believes in evolving with our customers. With the ever-changing demands of world, customers have cut down on luxury spending and focus on essentials. With the digital adoption the consumers are naturally progressing towards smartphones but feature phones continues to be a natural choice in the hinterland of the country.
  • HMD Global is committed to making quality technology accessible to everyone. And in a market like India, finding that fine balance between quality and price is key.
  • Our devices are known for their trusted quality and durability. We have tried to diversify our portfolio to cater to the diverse audiences in India so that we can provide the best deal in terms of price and quality for everyone.

Trends are changing very frequently, So what are your views in terms of this ever-changing non-lasting trend environment & do you take this as an opportunity or as a challenge ?

While trends are very fluid in nature, they are very interesting to understand the ever-changing consumer preferences. Hence, trends inherently can pose an opportunity and a challenge to manufacturers. While most trends die out without much impact, others leave a lasting change in the market dynamics. It’s therefore important to look at the larger picture in terms of trends.

At HMD Global, providing the best mobile experience across segments is our key focus. Our key focus is to provide durable technology with the best user experience, at the best price. And we will continue to do so diligently.

Singh Kochhar, Vice President- India & MENA, HMD Global

 

In such a competitive market, How do you set yourself apart from the rest of the competition ?

At HMD Global, our focus is to make quality technology accessible to everyone. Nokia phones are known for their quality and trusted durability. We offer 2 years of OS upgrades, and 3 years of security updates on our smart devices.

We have a diverse portfolio in India with a good mix of smartphones and feature phones, and recently, tablets. Our key focus is currently the budget segment, and we wish to provide the best value to our consumers here. Also, as mentioned, Make in India is a key focus for us. Our popular products, including the G series, C Series and features phones are all manufactured India. We are looking to expand the same to the entire range of devices

We have been growing at a 41% YOY and we plan to maintain a similar pace going forward too, which is primarily going to be feature phone and mid- segment budget phones.

So which platform works best for you in terms of sales, is it the online platform or the offline channels?

HMD global, the home of Nokia phones, has an Omni channel strategy in India. While we are catering to the online consumers we have a strong dealer network and we are present in over 100,000 counters in India and we are ase available on Nokia.com and other ecom sites.

India is a price-sensitive market, So how does HMD Global combat this challenge of providing a good quality product but keeping it inexpensive and affordable?

  • With rapid digital adoption, consumers are naturally progressing towards smartphones but feature phones continue to be a natural choice in the hinterland of the country.
  • Consumers who are buying their first smartphones or upgrading from their first smartphone, in the budget/affordable segment have tremendous potential in a market like India and our plan is to tap this opportunity with innovative products that are relevant to the usage and utility of the masses. HMD Global’s focus will be building portfolio in features and mid- budget segments smartphones
  • We put customers first which reflects in our customer centricity and service offerings and that is what makes Nokia phones desirable
  • Given the current consumer sentiment in India, the legacy of trust in a brand is as important for many consumers, as the value they derive from their phone
  • Last year, Nokia mobiles was rated as #1 Most Trusted by Counterpoint Research across the three key parameters of build quality, software and security upgrades and Android Enterprise Recommended phones.

Being a new and growing handset company, expansion of your reach is a must to develop a strong customer database, So, what is your ‘Growth Strategy’ regarding the same?

“Listen to your consumer, they know it better”

  • Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives, almost an extension of our physique. So people know what they want from their phones.
  • And at HMD Global, we listen to the consumers to understand what they need from technology – Love, Trust and Keep.

In the end we would love to know, your honest opinion about the technology and electronics industry, current market conditions & upcoming trends globally !!

  • Features in phones: Faster charging, longer battery, camera, strong connectivity etc.
  • Utilities: Education, Entertainment are high engagement applications
    Video consumption is peaking higher every quarter
  • Embracing 5G: There is a buzz in India towards the adoption and impact, given the launch tomorrow.
  • Last mile connectivity: Democratising information accessibility with broadband reach
  • Digitalisation: Emphasis on Digitalisation is a motivation for consumers.

 

 

 

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