In an exclusive interview with Shivam Ranjan, Head of Marketing, Asia-Pacific at Motorola, we delve into the brand’s remarkable resurgence in the Indian smartphone market. Under his leadership, Motorola has not only weathered the competitive landscape but has experienced substantial growth. In this insightful conversation, Ranjan shares key factors contributing to this hyper-growth, providing a comprehensive understanding of the strategies that set the brand apart in this highly competitive segment. His perspective offers a unique glimpse into the dynamics that have propelled Motorola to its current standing in the industry.
Over the past few years, Motorola has successfully revamped its position in the Indian smartphone market. Could you share insights into the strategies that contributed to this brand resurgence?
Motorola has experienced substantial growth in sales and consumer acquisition over the past few years. We have grown at 57% Premium to Market in Q1 FY23, and 42% Premium to Market in Q2 FY23 despite a declining market, suggesting that we are acquiring market share rapidly. In H1 FY23, the overall business has been growing at 2X YoY. This hyper-growth is owed to a variety of factors and strategies that we executed, including differentiation with design and software, leadership in 5G, time to market, Made for India and our expanding consumer touchpoints.
Motorola’s exclusive partnership with PANTONE allows us to lead the category in terms of colours and design, where PANTONE not only curates colours for us but also shares inputs on our designs including material and finish, enabling us to develop the most stylish, premium and appealing products in the segment. Additionally, Motorola is also able to differentiate itself from the competition on the software front by providing meaningful consumer experiences across price points, which include features like moto unplugged and family spaces – enabling digital well-being for consumers and their families, ThinkShield for mobile and Moto Secure which provide business-grade security to consumers and moto connect and Ready For which enable interconnected device experiences, available across most of our smartphone range.
Motorola has also been recognized as India’s best 5G smartphone brand in 2023, which showcases its commitment to deliver the most advanced 5G experience on its products across price points with respect to speed, coverage and features required to deliver the best 5G experience. With a rapidly growing consumer demand for uncompromised 5G products, Motorola has been able to deliver on this key consumer need at every price point, which has also contributed to over 8X growth in our 5G portfolio year over year.
Motorola is committed to democratising technology by offering premium features at affordable prices, and we are proud to deliver segment leading features across price points, first to the consumers. We are ensuring that our devices come with the latest and the greatest when it comes to hardware with leading specifications and software differentiations.
Moreover, Motorola is manufacturing almost 100% of the products in India giving competitive advantage with respect to pricing and time to market. Further, we are making products specifically for India basis the needs of Indian consumers which are different than the global SKU’s. This pulse check of the audience and catering to them, has enabled us to capture consumers and drive high volumes for India-customized phones such as the moto g54 5G. Finally, we are increasing our investments in marketing to create more touchpoints for the consumers and expanding our footprint across online, retail, D2C, and O2O channels.
Can you provide a glimpse into the new technologies and features that Motorola is currently working on or plans to introduce in its upcoming devices in 2024?
We aim to capitalize on the current trends of premiumization and 5G in the Indian market and achieve rapid growth for our premium and 5G smartphone range, which is led by the edge, razr and g franchises. Additionally, we will continue to lead with innovation in new form factors, design and software experiences.
As India’s best 5G smartphone brands, affordable 5G will be an important segment for us and we will continue to add uncompromised 5G products at accessible price points to offer the best 5G experience to more consumers. Further we will continue to invest and grow in the premium category with our edge and razr franchises.
In a market with diverse consumer preferences, what sets Motorola apart in India? How does the brand customize its offerings to cater to different segments of the Indian audience?
Motorola has successfully leveraged the premiumization trend in the Indian market to drive hypergrowth for our premium smartphone portfolio led by edge and razr franchises. Additionally, the penetration of 5G devices is growing rapidly in the Indian market and is a key focus area for the brand. Motorola has been recognized as India’s best 5G smartphone brand in 2023* which further reinforces our commitment towards providing consumers with the best smartphone experience.
Additionally, our unique design language, innovative form factors and exclusive partnership with Pantone is what sets us apart from the competition. A testimony of this is the success of our razr 40 series which was the highest-selling foldable proposition on Amazon during Great Indian Festival’23.
Addressing the needs of the Indian consumer, we will continue to make products catering to their needs. An example of this is the moto g54 5G which has driven high volumes during the festive season and had customized phone specifications for India. Specifically in India, it was launched with a 6000mAh battery vs 5000mAh globally, a 33W charger vs a 20W charger globally, and an 8MP UW macro in-depth camera vs a 2MP macro camera globally.
Are there plans to introduce smartphones targeted at niche audiences, such as gamers or vloggers (or content creators), in 2024?
Motorola believes in democratizing technology. Hence, we do not believe in creating devices for niche segments. However, we certainly provide the most cutting-edge technology in our devices that are capable of professional gaming or content creation. Such devices are available at multiple price points which are also accessible to a wider set of consumers.
Considering the current landscape, what are your predictions for consumer behavior trends in the smartphone market in 2024? How does Motorola plan to align its products with these anticipated trends?
We have identified certain trends that are prevalent in today’s day and age when it comes to the smartphone market. The first of these is the premiumization trend, where aspects like design and colours will be given a stronger weightage by consumers. Motorola’s product portfolio perfectly embodies innovation in design, colours, and form factors which are in sync with the premiumization trend in the Indian market.
Secondly, innovation in form factors has started to become a norm in the industry with foldables becoming more frequent. Motorola’s dedication to innovation, R&D, and understanding consumer preferences positions us to cater to the evolving needs of Indian consumers in this emerging segment. Our foldable devices motorola razr 40 ultra and motorola razr 40 launched to an overwhelming response, with both devices packing distinctive features that set them apart in the foldable segment.
Another segment that is of prime importance is the adoption of 5G and consumers desire to consume more content. Hence, demanding more security and enhanced experiences beyond hardware. We provide security via Moto Secure and ThinkShield, enable a plethora of experiences at home through Family Spaces, and power multi-device experiences with Ready For.
Finally, with AI, IoT, AR, and VR witnessing an increase, the modern smartphone experience is about to go through a transformative shift, with AI at the center. Motorola’s approach for the future is to understand consumers’ desires for AI enhancements and apply AI throughout the user journey accordingly, with a focus on productivity, entertainment, security, and health. Our goal is to create a smartphone experience that is smarter, faster, and offers convenience that exceeds user expectations.
As the Head of Marketing for Asia-Pacific, what are the key priorities for Motorola’s business in 2024? Are there specific opportunities or challenges that you foresee in the coming year?
In the pursuit of achieving profitable hypergrowth despite challenging market conditions, Motorola is uniquely positioned to thrive. We are poised to continue to grow at high double digit or triple digit premium to market over the upcoming quarters. Our sales will be anchored on 5G smartphones and premium portfolio. Our commitment to meaningful innovation takes priority, with a primary goal of developing cutting-edge technologies and products that continuously meet the evolving needs of consumers. Consistently delivering high-quality products with compelling features remains at the core of our strategy, allowing us to stand out and stay ahead in the market.
Additionally, democratizing technology is a key focus, reflecting our dedication to creating products that are accessible, user-friendly, and cater to a broad spectrum of consumers. This approach aims to make our products more inclusive, ensuring they address the diverse needs and preferences of our customer base. We recognise the importance of adapting swiftly to changing market trends and consumer demands and remaining agile and responsive in navigating the ever-evolving industry landscape.
*(Source: Techarc India’s Best 5G Smartphones Reports)