Indian handset players such as Micromax and Lava, fighting for survival in their home market, are looking to shore up revenue and drive volumes through international expansion. But analysts say that a better bet will be to increase focus on the under-$100 (around Rs 7,000) smartphone segment and on feature phones, which still offer huge volumes in India.
Sunil Raina, president at Lava International, told ET that the handset brand will focus on the Rs 7,000-Rs 15,000 price category, and has plans to launch a new iteration of the 4G feature phone.
Of the major Indian players popularly referred to as MILK, Micromax (4%), and Lava, (3%) still have some presence in the smartphone market, while Karbonn (nil), and Intex (1%) have a minimal share, as per CMR estimates. In feature-phones, it is 2% for Micromax, 7% for Lava, 2% for Intex and 3% for Karbonn. Their combined shares in the smartphone and feature-phone market dropped to 8% and 14%, respectively, in 2018 from 26% and 42% in 2016.
CMR’s Head- Industry Intelligence Group (IIG) Prabhu Ram said that the market opportunity in the sub-$200 price band is large, with Africa and Eastern Europe emerging as key bets for many players. “For the likes of Lava and Micromax, it makes sense to exploit and leverage such opportunities. It would complement their domestic focus,” he said.