The year 2016 was not a good one for Micromax. Despite the re-branding and logo change, the Gurugram based phonemaker failed to clock any growth. In 2015, Micromax was among the top spot holders in smartphones shipment ranking, but by the end of 2016, it figured nowhere on that chart.
However despite the setbacks, Micromax still managed to secure the third position in the overall phone market-share, as per the IDC data.
"We didn't expect an influx of so many companies in India last year," Micromax CEO Rahul Sharma said, speaking at an event in Mumbai. "There was an unusually quiet period in terms of product from us. The step of demonetization which affected the whole market also played a part in the product launch life cycle."
This year, the company seems to be charged up and ready to go. First, the phonemaker announced its debut dual-camera phone, called Dual 5, with Qiku 360 as the ODM partner (Original Device Manufacturer). Priced at ₹24,999, the Dual 5 targets the premium mid-range segment with a good camera and a specialised security chip for data protection.
"Security is an aspect which is ignored a lot of times in the phones," Shubajit Sen, CMO of Micromax, said at an event. "But everyone wakes up when a hack takes place. So, we wanted to take care of that in our phones."
Micromax has said that it will launch more phones in its Dual series this year. The company also has high expectations from its cheaper, under-₹5,000 range of Bharat phones.
"Last year we saw the surge of 4G in India," Sharma said. "That's why we wanted to tap the entry-level customer market with phones in that segment. Bharat series is going to be a big boost for us. In fact, these are the only low-cost phones which are approved by Google."
Micromax is also partnering with Flipkart to build the Evok series of phones in the ₹6,000-₹12,000 range, which will be sold online only. According to reports, besides being involved in the sales process, Flipkart is also helping Micromax at the product planning stage by providing consumer insights. The recently released Evok Power and Evok Note are priced at ₹6,999 and ₹9,499 respectively.
Micromax already has a big marketing and sales network in India, and it aims to have four new factories operational by the end of the year. This will enable it to up its current manufacturing rate of 1.5 million smartphones per month.
Over the years, the phonemaker has also invested in consumer electronics, with Micromax TV, AC, sound systems and more available in the market. Recently, big players such as Samsung, LG and Sony have reduced the prices of their TV sets to fend off competition from companies such as Micromax.
The company is keen to expand and has made investments in startups. It has entered the payment segment with TransServe wallet and has released phones with regional Indus OS. At some points, there are plans to introduce the Yu series of smartphones too.
While Mircomax seems to be building a promising product portfolio, to win over consumers it will have to ensure that it maintains a consistent approach.