China has always been the great assembler in technology. After so many years in charge of manufacturing technological products, companies in the country have decided to take advantage of their strengths to storm the mobile market. But those manufacturers who really want to be a major player have two mirrors to look at.
On the one hand, Huawei, which initially focused on cheap but good terminals to attract users and over the years convince them that when they renew their mobile they continue betting on the brand but paying double or triple. On the other, Xiaomi, which has customized its Android user interface to the extreme and developed an entire ecosystem of services to be considered the Chinese Apple. The brand has landed in Spain this year with several stores in Madrid and Barcelona under full expectation with a legion of followers.
If we look at the mobile market data, both nationally and globally, the trend is practically identical: except for the first two brands (Apple and Samsung), the rest of the manufacturers that share the business come from China. And there are more and more Chinese names that relegate other companies to oblivion.
Among the top three mobile brands in Spain -Samsung, Huawei and Apple- they share the majority of the market: almost 7 out of 10 terminals are from one of these manufacturers.
Longer lasting mobiles
In our country, 14.6 million mobile phones were sold in the last quarter of last year (traditionally the most important in sales), which is almost 9% less than in the previous year, according to data from the consulting firm IDC a those that Innova + has had access to. Samsung continues to be the manufacturer that places the most terminals, although it registers a drop in sales greater than that of the total market.
Spain barely represents 11% of the entire Western European market, although, according to the data handled by IDC, it is the one that falls the most in Europe. Especially striking is the growth recorded by Xiaomi: it has managed to sell no less than 75% more mobile phones in 2017 than in 2016.
These results demonstrate, in assessments by Francisco Jerónimo, director of research for the European Mobile Market at IDC, that the smartphone industry is already mature. “Manufacturers have to find a value proposition that convinces users to renew their terminal,” he says. We are at a time when users change terminals more and more years, an opportunity so that when we buy a new one, we spend more. “Brands must give a clear added value to be the chosen option”, warns Jerónimo.
Most expensive phones
One of those differentiations is coming from the hand of Artificial Intelligence. Huawei was among the first to include this technology in its processors and cameras, but the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) has certified it as a trend. “Innovations in hardware are no longer worth it,” says the analyst.
The problem is that the cost of these innovations make the price of the terminals increase, when, in general, the idea is that Chinese brands are cheaper. Chinese brands have focused on the high end in recent years and this is “a challenge” for brands like Apple or Samsung because others like Huawei are able to offer Artificial Intelligence at a more competitive price. “But the problem is more for the rest of Chinese brands, which do not have that brand attraction like the previous ones, since they cannot compete with the top 3 only in price,” explains the IDC analyst.
Likewise, Jerónimo considers that all those brands that want to gain a foothold in the mobile market should look in the mirror of the strategy followed by Huawei: first sell many mobile phones for 100 or 200 euros and convince that customer base so that the next terminal is of the same brand but with a budget two or three times higher.