“We are a Premium Brand In Smartphone” : Pankaj Rana, Business Head, Panasonic

by July 3, 2017 0 comments

In a candid interaction with PC Quest, Pankaj Rana, Business Head, Mobility Division, Panasonic India highlighting their new technology, channel strategies and growth for Indian Market.

 

  1. The consolidation which is happening in the market, Is that affecting the handset business?

Consolidation is in a way is good. As a telecom operator, I see consolidation is happening but user base is not shrinking. User base is increasing and moving towards high technologies. Jio has upgraded users to 2G, 3G to 4G and other operators also working on the VOLTE technology. Voice and Data cost is rapidly going down. So it’s good for brand like us and it’s a good sign for us.

2. As per Panasonic, what are the key developments that you see in smartphone side?

In last 2 years, Chinese brands are dominating in the Indian market both the offline and online market. They have really built up the channel as per as distribution network. This has given the advantage to the brand like Panasonic because we are in many other products like Refrigerator, TV, AC’s. So our distribution channel is very strong and we are riding on that channel strength. This is giving us the advantage and we are building our distribution network in a big way now. We are expanding our products mobile phones to the tier 2 and tier 3 cities and other Indian market.

3. Do you think when consumer comes to brand specific store, do they buy specific product like mobile phone?

Mobile phone customer likes to visit the multi-brand outlets because they have different choices and other preferences. But when customer is coming to Panasonic exclusive showrooms they have some set preferences in their mind and most of the customer who are coming to our exclusive stores, they have some brand loyalty for Panasonic. Our brand showrooms are helping us in a way to sell those mobile in those market.

4. What are the challenges in terms of pricing you see in the market with other Chinese brands?

There are two types of Chinese brand. One is OPPO, VIVO and Gionee and they are selling via distribution channel and their price segment is very high between 9K to 20K. Then there are the Indian brand line Lava, Micromax, Intex and Karbonn have price segment is entry level between 3k to 6k. Earlier, most of the sales started happening in the online space but after Chinese brands came into the Indian market, distribution sales has been increased. Panasonic as a premium brand, cater to the segment between 6k to 15k and there is no big Indian player in 6K-9K segment and customer doesn’t prefer Indian brand. However, in this segment Panasonic has strong roots in the distribution space.

Recently, Panasonic has announced their exclusive product for online channel. Same as Samsung, now we have two set of products, one for only offline/distribution channel and one segment only for online space because online channel is now contributing 25-30% and for Panasonic, online sale has increasing every month.

5. How does Panasonic differentiate itself from other brands?

Recently, when we announced our new products for online channel. We are also launching our new product portfolio for offline channel and our positioning is different and unique for the market. If you see few brands are positioning their phones on the Camera, few on the battery, few are from the design but we are positioning our product on the intelligent or innovations. Our phones have the intelligence features focuses on giving unique experience to the end customers. Soon we will launch 3-4 new products in the Indian market and those products will be for the distribution channel. Also we will launch 1-2 products for online channel in the month of July itself.

6. How Panasonic phones are differently intelligent from other phones?

When we say our phones are intelligent phones or when we took this position of Intelligence, We built a complete ecosystem of features. Our new feature is called Arbo. It is a type of virtual assistant for the end customer. For example, if you are using your smart phone, Arbo will understand your behavior or usage pattern and it will keep giving you those notifications at the regular intervals that it is a time to do this. At this moment no other player is providing this feature at the end consumer level. Our focus is how to provide the better experience to the end consumer in simplify manner.

7. What is the growth Panasonic is looking at for the Indian Market?

Last year Panasonic sold 2 Million Smartphones in Indian market and this year we are targeting 3 Millions smartphones. Earlier, we were not focusing on the online market which is contributing 25-30% to the overall industry. Now we are very focused on the online space. At this moment we have 4 exclusive products for the online market which is giving the volume and value business for every month.

8. How is you manufacturing happening in India?

We have our manufacturing unit in Noida. Bixon technology is our partner who produces Panasonic TV’s, Washing Machines and few other products. For Mobile, we have our manufacturing unit in Noida that is Padget Technologies. They have 8 assembly lines and 4 packaging lines with the approximate production capacities 8 lakh smartphones per month.

9. What is the advantage of having manufacturing unit in India?

Having local manufacturing unit in India is beneficial for us because of the less manufacturing cost but the major point is that we feel that we are very close to the customers and we understand the pain point of our customers where we can immediately give the feedback to the factory to work on those points to improve.

10. What is your Marketing strategy this year?

We will be spending 200Cr in marketing activities in a year. Marketing activities for Panasonic have divided into 2 areas. First is for distribution sales and another for the online sale. For Distribution concern, we would be going with the print media, TV advertisement and outdoor activities at the shop front. For Online, we prefer the social marketing and digital marketing.

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