A few weeks ago, Micromax blew the war-horns about their comeback into the Indian smartphone market, and yesterday they finally unveiled the two devices which they are betting big on.
The Gurugram-based company announced that the arrival of ‘In Note 1’ and ‘In 1b’, two budget range smartphones which are supposedly going to help them win back their lost ground in India smartphone market from Chinese brands, mainly Xiaomi.
Currently, even though the homegrown brand is riding high on anti-Chinese sentiments and the Government’s Vocal For Local initiative, their soon-to-be-launched devices have some really impressive specifications, at least on paper.
Micromax’s In Note 1 will come equipped with MediaTek Helio G85 processor, 4GB RAM and storage variants of GB and 128GB. For the 1B, the brand has gone with the MediaTek Helio G35, and this device has a 2GB RAM and 32GB storage variant and a 4GB RAM and storage up to 64GB option available as well.
In terms of design, both the devices look attractive; however, it is quite apparent that Micromax has taken the liberty of borrowing inspiration from brands such as Samsung, Huawei, Honor and several others. Thus, one might not be able to call them an ‘original’ as such.
When released on 26th November, the Micromax In Note 1 will be priced at Rs 10,999 in 64GB storage model whereas the 128GB variant will come with a price tag of Rs 12,499.
On the other hand, the Micromax IN 1b will be priced at Rs 6,999 for the 2GB RAM and 32GB storage configuration, whereas the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage model will be getting sold for Rs 7,999.
Now, besides wanting to get back into the smartphone game with two devices having all the bells and whistles, Micromax still needs to work out a very important curveball – rebuilding consumer trust.
Can Micromax Win Back Consumers’ Trust?
While it’s true that one of the primary reasons for the downfall of the Indian-born brand was the invasion of Chinese brands such as OnePlus and Xiaomi, there’s a flip side of the coin which tells a different story.
In 2014, when the Chinese players were busy coming up with innovative products for Indian masses, Micromax resorted to being complacent. The brand showed very little interest in innovating its range of smartphone devices as well as adapting to the onset of 4G.
Micromax, ignoring all the signs which would ultimately lead to its doom, instead chose to focus on rebranding Chinese-made devices and filling it up with unnecessary bloatware.
The homegrown brand also failed spectacularly when it came to providing after-sales support. Despite having over 1,300 service centres in India, the quality of customer support and service they were providing was nowhere close to their competition.
Consumers complained that service centres took not days but several months to repair minor issues with Micromax devices and there always seemed to be a lack in the availability of replacement parts.
If all that wasn’t enough to jeopardise the dominant position in the market, Micromax failed to provide regular updates to its range of smartphone devices. Even the most basic updates which catered to security, improving battery life, and so on were left out.
Soon enough consumers started taking note of this and reported that Micromax’s devices are buggy in nature as the brand wouldn’t deliver fixes on time. Thus, many chose to switch to better alternatives such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Motorola and even Samsung.
As the company gave deaf eras to the customers outcry, soon customers started distancing away from the brand. Within just two years, Micromax lost half if its market to other promising competitors. Between Q3 2014 and Q3 2016, Micromax’s quarterly shipment share tanked from 20.4% to just 10%.
Soon enough Micromax, which was once touted as the poster boy of smartphone revolution in India, lost all its glory and by Q1 2019 it’s market share squeezed to just 1%.
People’s mandate was quite clear – Micromax is a brand one can not trust!
As Micromax is all set for a fresh start, the biggest challenge for the company is not the offerings, specification or price of their smartphones. It’s winning back consumers’ trust and confidence. Undoubtedly, it’s going to be an uphill battle for Micromax as marketing gurus have always advocated that rebranding is always quite difficult than branding.
It would be interesting to observe what does Micromax does differently this time around to fix its previous blunders and in turn, also fix their brand image.
During the launch of In Note 1 and In 1B, Rahul Sharma, Co-Founder of Micromax did announce some important fixes such as – no bloatware, stock Android, and a minimum of two years guaranteed updates. Hence pointing to the fact that they are committed to erasing the mistakes they made the first time.
How far he will succeed in doing so, only time will tell!