“Micromax“, a brand name that every 90s Indian kid is aware of.
Either you or someone in your circle must have bought Micromax as their first smartphone.
It was the most influential brand during pre-Xiaomi times!
After Xiaomi entered the smartphone market, Micromax just got disappeared. Woosh!
But why? What’s the story? To know it all, we’ve to start from the beginning. Here we go!
So, Micromax is an Indian brand, started by Rahul Sharma at the time of the dot com boom, in the early 2000s. At that time the Indian phone industry was at the budding stage.
If you remember your dad’s first smartphone was either Nokia, Samsung, or Sony (if you are born in the 90s).
There was not much of an option for Indian consumers on the phone market. So, to fill this gap, Rahul started Micromax.
First Micromax Smartphone
Micromax launched its first smartphone in 2008 by the name of X1i.
This was the phone with a keyboard and candy bar design and was India’s first phone with long battery life (where all the other company lacks).
In the starting, they were mainly focusing on rural India with features like mp3 player, radio, and long battery life (because rural India has a low power supply).
At that time, even today, price plays a key factor in whether a phone will get sold or not. And that’s why they placed their smartphones in the budget segment.
After there first phone, they launched several phones in the Indian market. Out of which, one of my favorites was the qwerty keypad phones!!
Micromax introduced QWERTY keypad phones in India
Yes, Micromax was the company to bring qwerty keypad phone for the common man in India as BlackBerry being a flagship phone was only serving the high-class people.
Micromax launches Android
After this era, Micromax jumped into the smartphone category with its first Android phone in 2010.
At that time the phone had quite some decent specifications but the common man was yet not ready for a smartphone.
It took a lot of effort to make Indian consumers switch to a smartphone. But once they did, Rahul gave a huge hit by launching the Micromax Canvas series.
It became huge and sold largely across India. By this time, Micromax has built its customer service centers and has a really good name in providing good customer service.
Everything was smooth till now
Everything was going extremely well till now.
After this, they launched the Funbook series, which was made for the educational purpose for children. Its to make them learn and enjoy day-to-day activities (I also had the fun book in 2012 and I must say, it was quite good for children to enjoy learning). The Funbook series was also quite popular at that time.
The company was growing well and has a 22% market share in 2013.
Till 2015 company did fairly well in the Indian smartphone, but then, Mukesh Ambani launched Jio 4G.
The Rise of Jio
You must be thinking, how can a 4G network a.k.a. Jio could have affected Micromax, right?
The problem was Micromax never spend their profit in Research & Development (R&D). They were more of like a trading company at that time that was directly manufacturing their phones in China and selling in India.
So, when Jio came in, they were providing 4G internet at free of cost and Micromax was just not ready. Leading to no 4G handsets by Micromax at that time
With Jio, the sudden demand of 4G smartpones spiked, which Micromax couldn’t fulfil and that’s when the Chinese smartphone makers launched their handsets in India. Yes, I’m talking about Xiaomi.
They introduced 4G smartphones at an affordable price (way lesser than Micromax was selling at), pushing Micromax to the failure pit.
Here’s how Xiaomi managed to provide cheaper than Micromax
- Xiaomi, in the beginning, didn’t invest in the Distribution channel. They took the path of online platforms like Amazon and Flipkart that help the company in cost-cutting.
- Micromax was spending a huge amount on marketing which lead to an increase in the final product but Xiaomi was not spending much on marketing.
- The Xiaomi did research and development (R&D) for the cost-cutting.
- The last and the biggest reason is that their profit per unit sales were less, they were mainly dealing with the quantity ( less profit per unit but high sales).
Now, Micromax shares were decreasing from the Industry, and Chinese giant shares were increasing.
Now, it’s even hard to imagine that at one point of time, Micromax was at the largest smartphone seller in India and used to sell even more smartphones than Samsung.
Why everyone preferred Xiaomi over Micromax?
- The first and most important reason was the availability of 4G at that time.
- Price: Affordable price, due to online selling they were saving money and providing cheap handset to the consumer.
- User experience: Yes, I know Xiaomi doesn’t provide Android update but still, they give an update for their MI UI, which Micromax never worked on.
Is Micromax dead?
According to the latest tweet by Rahul Sharma, it doesn’t seem like they are.
The main reason behind getting back to the industry is Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan introduced by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This pandemic has made us realize that most of the markets and industries rely on China. Just observe and you’ll find out that all of us are surrounded by Chinese products.
Due to the tension in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh, there’s a wave of boycotting Chinese products and thus, I think it’s the best time for Micromax to get back in business as currently, every Indian needs an Indian brand to compete in the budget segment.
Smartphone options we have in the budget segment
If we think about the current scenario what smartphone options do we have in the budget segment?
- Real Mi
All the companies above, other than Samsung are Chinese. Even Motorola’s parent company is Lenovo.
Samsung even has its assembly plant in India. But it can’t compete alone in the budget segment, so Micromax right now has a great opportunity to fill this gap for the Indian users.
What should Micromax work on right now?
- They should invest in Research and Development (R&D) to give a better user experience for the end-user. This will also help in decreasing the cost of the smartphone and make them able to compete with others.
- Work on service quality in terms of the service center and quality of the smartphone. This will give users value for money.
- The main important thing they should keep in mind for the future is to transfer all the production plants from China to India. Then only it will be called an Indian smartphone brand.
This Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan plays a major role and gives the consumer a good reason to buy a Micromax smartphone.
I hope Rahul Sharma with Micromax, comes back and gives tough competition to other brands.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!