Nokia, the Finish Corporation, used to be a household name in India before the smartphone revolution happened. Almost every youth of my generation in India would have used a Nokia device at some point in time in his/her past. It was a very well known, established and the leading mobile phone manufacturer in India till 2010. 10 years down the lane the Nokia we see today is not the same which I used to see and use when I was a kid. In 2013, Nokia was sold to Microsoft over issues of the management failure in Nokia Corporation. And then on 18 May 2016, Microsoft Mobile sold its Nokia-branded feature phone business to HMD Global, a new company founded by former Nokia executive Jean-Francois Baril, and an associated factory in Vietnam to Foxconn’s FIH Mobile subsidiary.
Since its revival in 2016, Nokia has launched quite a lot of phones but none seems to have that ‘X’ factor to win over the audiences.
Why Is Nokia Not Well Received By The Customers?
Analyzing the current smartphone market scenario in India, HMD Global has done a decent job in giving competition to the leading smartphone makers in India like Xiaomi, Samsung, and others. But saying so, it has not been able to attain a significant market share as 53% of the smartphone shipments are done by Xiaomi and Samsung alone. And the BBK brothers aka Oppo, Vivo, and Realme capturing 26% of the total shipments. Nokia is nowhere to be found in these trends and these figures are more or less consistent for the last two years.
This shows that despite launching good phones, they are not getting popular and the Indian customers are not showing interest in buying them. In my opinion, this issue is related to the management team of Nokia. They are launching a way lot of phones with a terrible naming scheme which is both confusing and illogical. And this is just not my opinion- Pranav Shroff, GM of HMD Global‘s Portfolio, confirmed that the company has done a poor job making its portfolio clear for consumers. He confirmed that the Finnish company launched at least 12 new devices in India but the names do not reflect the difference between them.
Take for example the Nokia 7, Nokia 7.1, Nokia 7 Plus and the Nokia 7.1 Plus. The naming scheme is so terrible that I am not able to grasp the specifications of each these devices. Moreover, the specifications are more or less the same with a few differences. Add to the confusion the fact that all of these models are similarly priced. This over the aggressive approach to launch new phones into the market is such a terrible marketing strategy that even if the phones pack in decent hardware, customers tend to get confused with the naming schemes and often switch to some other manufacturer. Nokia should draw some inspiration from Xiaomi and Realme regarding how to name their phones.
The next thing that I would like to draw attention is regarding the pricing strategy of Nokia. It is no doubt that the smartphone manufacturers are playing specifications war in India for over two years now by trying to provide the best hardware possible for a much lower price than their competitors. Nokia seems to have been sidelined in this specification war since customers are feeling that Nokia is launching phones at a slightly higher price point. Indian market is very price sensitive and Nokia should keep this thing very well in their minds.
Keeping the budget and mid-range segment out of the picture, Nokia is nowhere to be seen in the premium segment despite launching premium phones since its revival. Their flagships do not have the same naming strategy problem but they are not able to fight the specifications war. Take their current flagship as an example- the Nokia 9 PureView despite having a great design, very capable camera setup is not well received by the critics and neither do I feel that it will gain traction in the Indian market. This is because of the Nokia 9 PureView packs in last year’s flagship processor Snapdragon 845. By saying that I do not undermine the power of Snapdragon 845 but when other manufacturers are providing Snapdragon 855, customers would not tend to prefer last year’s processor. This issue can also be seen in its last year’s flagship as well. The Nokia 8 Sirroco packed in Snapdragon 835 while other manufacturers shipped phones with Snapdragon 845. Nokia should focus on launching phones with up to date hardware else customers would not prefer their phones.
So these are some key aspects where Nokia is making mistakes and this can hamper its brand value if not fixed as soon as possible.
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