Charles Peng, president, Honor India.
Charles Peng, president, Honor India.

Honor aims to triple its market share by 2020

  • The smartphone brand, which mostly sells online, plans to set up offline stores to boost its revenue
  • In the last five years, India has attracted many Chinese smartphone companies, which have now captured the local market

NEW DELHI : Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd’s smartphone brand Honor is looking to triple its share in the hyper-competitive Indian market from the current 3% to 10% by 2020, driven by growth in offline sales.

The brand, which mostly sells online, plans to set up exclusive stores across metros, along the lines of what rivals, such as Xiaomi and OnePlus, have done.

“Offline sales make up about 10% of our (Honor’s) revenue. Many consumers still want to buy phones offline. We want to increase market share in offline. It is very important for us. We want our brand to cover all channels. Consumers will buy it from the channel which is easier for him," Charles Peng, president, Honor India, said in an interview.

At present, the brand does not have its own stores in India. “We want 30% of our revenue to come from offline stores by 2020. This will happen step by step," Peng added. The company did not share revenue details for the Indian market and the number of exclusive stores it plans to open.

Huawei had introduced the Honor brand globally in 2013 and in India in the following year. The price band for Honor smartphones in India is 8,000 to 45,999.

Honor started production in India about two years ago from its facility in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai. It has a research and development centre in Bengaluru.

In the last five years, India has attracted many Chinese smartphone companies, which have now captured the local market.

For its offline sales strategy, Honor is taking a leaf out of its rival and Indian smartphone market leader Xiaomi’s playbook, which has also strengthened its offline footprint to grow sales. Premium phonemaker OnePlus, too, has similar plans.

Xiaomi entered the Indian market, its biggest outside China, in 2014 to sell smartphones through e-commerce platforms. Xiaomi has sold the highest number of smartphones in India in the past six quarters. Its offline journey, however, began in 2017, which it believes will be crucial to retain its top spot. Xiaomi aims to sell products through its 10,000 retail touch-points by the end of this year, and get 50% of its business through offline sales.

OnePlus is also looking to increase focus on offline store expansion. The company has 12 stores of its own and wants to increase this to 25 by end-2020.

The offline sales strategy has become very crucial for phone makers, especially for tapping the market beyond metros.

“We should expect continued aggression by the online heavy brands in the next few months fuelled by new launches and price reductions of the last few launches, leading up to the festive season in October. We will also see a much more competitive offline market play going forward, with all the major brands fighting for limited shelf space, which will make the retail channel very critical for any brand’s success," Navkendar Singh, research director, client devices, International Data Corp. (India), said in a note on Tuesday.

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