In the ever-evolving world of smartphones, a few mobile handset makers have been tempted to launch two or even multiple brands in order to gain a larger chunk of the market or create a presence across price segments. The approach has so far worked in some countries — like in China — but when it comes to India, the dual brand strategy hasn’t been fruitful till date and has, in fact, affected the vendors’ long-term goals.Let us look at two big Chinese vendors — Lenovo-Motorola and Huawei Honor — who have gambled on this strategy in India. Lenovo’s smartphone shipments in India were just short of a million units, falling by more than 60 per cent (year-on-year) in the first quarter of 2018, according to Hong Kongbased Counterpoint Research. The last Lenovo-branded smartphone that arrived in India was Lenovo K8 Plus in September 2017. Since then, there has not been any Lenovo-branded device in sight.Motorola, which has a better visibility, has seen Moto devices being launched at regular intervals. Motorola Mobility is strengthening its retail presence pan India. Meanwhile, Huawei’s sub-brand Honor entered the list of top five most selling smartphone brands in India for the very first time in the first quarter of Honor registered a 146 per cent growth in the last quarter. Sensing newer opportunities, Huawei has now brought its premium smartphone “P20 Pro” to the country for Rs 64,999. However, its earlier avatar, Huawei P10, never made it to India. The last ‘P’ series device that arrived in the country was “P9” in 2016. Since then, Huawei has been promoting its sub-brand Honor.The companies are yet to accept the ground reality but the fact is that the Indian consumers are not ready to accept dual brands from one vendor. “The dual-brand strategy is working fine for Huawei in China. However, we do not have any such success story in India so far, ” Jaipal Singh, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India, told IANS. “That the Lenovo group is decreasing its dependency on the Lenovo brand in India is evident from the fact that most of the devices shipped in India in Q1 2018 were Motorola, which enjoys stronger brand recall in India, ” Singh noted.According to Counterpoint Research’s Q1 2018 report, Lenovo and Motorola were out of the top-five vendors’ list in India. “The dual-brand strategy is not working for Lenovo-Motorola in India as they have brought devices in almost similar price range, overlapping the positioning in the market, ” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint, told.
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