Panasonic Bets on 4G Models to Double Mobile Revenues
Co plans to launch eight new models in the next 45 days, hike ad spends
timesinternet.in New Delhi: Panasonic India expects to more than double its revenue from mobile phones to .₹ 2,500 crore by the end of this fiscal year, by which time the Japanese company aims to double its market share on the back of aggressive launch plans, especially around 4G, backed by higher marketing spending.
“The mobile division contributed 15% towards overall India revenue, which we want to take to 25% by the end of the ongoing fiscal,” Pankaj Rana, business head - mobility division, Panasonic India, told ET. The company doubled its mobile business revenue in the fiscal year ended March 31to .₹ 1,200 crore, from .₹ 600 crore in 2014-15. The company plans to launch eight new smartphones in the next 45 days, seven of them being 4G VoLTE smartphones. Currently, it has 10 smartphones in the market, priced between .₹ 5,000 and .₹ 14,000, with seven being 4G-enabled. “Our upcoming smartphones will support all the 4G bands, and telecom operators in India,” Rana said. This fiscal, which started April 1, the company will launch 30-35 new smartpho- nes, priced between .₹ 4,000 and .₹ 20,000.
According to internal data, Panasonic had around 3% market share at the end of just ended fiscal year when it sold 1.5 million smartphones, Rana said. He expects the company to sell around 3 million this fiscal year and expand its share to 6-8% market share by the end of the ongoing fiscal.
Panasonic, which started selling its smartphones in 2013 here, is largely focused on the offline distribution channel, but hasn’t been very successful in India so far. Newer entrants such as Xiaomi currently sells nearly 1.5 million smartphones a quarter by focusing mainly on the online channel. But Panasonic will retain its offline focus this financial year as well, and will spend about .₹ 220 crore on marketing, almost a fifth of which on digital marketing. The company’s marketing investment will be almost double from last year’s .₹ 120 crore.
“More than brand, its price that sells in the online channel,” he said, adding that the company has a good brand equity in the market due to other consumer durable products, thereby it will continue to leverage the offline retail channel. Rana said that the company though will launch a few exclusive smartphones, but would not aggressively target the channel, due to stiff competi- tion. “Even though we have a focus on offline, we would still be bullish on digital, as it influences customers and their purchasing,” Rana said, while explaining the company’s move on digital marketing. Panasonic’s 80% smartphones are locally assembled by its manufacturing partner Dixon at the Noida facility, where there are six dedicated assembly lines for the handset vendors. Rana said that by the end of the ongoing quarter, Panasonic will fulfill the entire domestic demand from locally assembled smartphones.
In addition, the company will increase the assembly lines to nine from the current six, along with five packaging lines to support the growth in the market.
The mobile division has contributed 15% to co’s overall India revenues