Japanese tech major Panasonic will pump in about Rs 200 crore this year towards marketing and promotion of its smartphones as it revs up competition with the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi and Lenovo in the booming Indian market. Panasonic, which is making a renewed attempt at capturing the Indian market, plans to launch as many as 28 devices this year in the Rs 6,000-Rs 20,000 price bracket. “We will spend Rs 200 crore this year towards various activities to promote our smartphone range. The initiatives will span across TV, print and other media,” Panasonic India Business Head, Mobility Division, Pankaj Rana told PTI. Panasonic has also roped in actor Taapsee Pannu as brand ambassador, along with Varun Dhawan, for the smartphone vertical.
Players like Vivo and Oppo have pumped in millions of dollars towards branding and promotion of their smartphones. Vivo is the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League cricket as well as some other sporting events. Panasonic has been trying to make inroads into the hyper competitive Indian smartphone market but has not met with much success. The company recently ended its partnership with Jaina and is now pursuing the smartphone business on its own. “We have spent the last few months preparing for the launch. We will bring in the best products from our range for the Indian consumers,” he said.
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Panasonic is also betting on the smartphone business as a lever to push its portfolio of consumer durables. “We have a very strong consumer durables brand. We are targeting the youth with our smartphone range and are confident that they will also become customers of our other products like ACs and TVs,” Rana said. The company has an intense focus on the offline retail market. “Of the 28 devices planned this year, about 20 are offline. The sales numbers in the offline market are significant and we are keen on tapping into that segment,” he said.
Apart from large format retail stores and other distribution points, Panasonic will use its 250 exclusive retail counters (that sell its other products) to showcase its smartphones. India is one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone markets. Driven by increasing data consumption and falling data prices, a huge number of feature phone users are also migrating to smartphones and seek affordable devices. According to research firm IDC, 27 million smartphones were shipped to India in the January-March quarter of 2017. Samsung led the pack with 28.1 per cent share, while Xiaomi and Vivo had 14.2 per cent and 10.5 per cent share, respectively. Lenovo had 9.5 per cent, while Oppo had 9.3 per cent share in the said quarter. This year, Panasonic is hopeful of clocking Rs 2,000 crore revenues from its smartphone business, up from Rs 1,400 crore last year.