On the heels of the Flipkart-eBay announcement also came the announcement that Flipkart is now partnering with Micromax, to develop and market mid-range smartphones in the Indian market.
The smartphones will be called Evok, and will cost between INR 6,000 to 12,000. We do not know much about the devices yet, except that they can be expected out quite soon. What is also quite probable is that Flipkart will be the exclusive seller for them, much like it is for the Bharat 2, an INR 3,499 smartphone Micromax recently launched, and for the Dual 5, an INR 24,999 smartphone for the premium mid-range segment with Micromax’s first dual-camera set.
“It’s a long-term agreement with Flipkart where we will be developing products jointly based on the insights and consumer understanding we get,” Shubhajit Sen, Chief Marketing Officer at Micromax said.
The simple way to understand this is that the partnership will benefit both the parties in unique ways, while also giving them a joint front to fight competition. Micromax has been looking to expand its online presence for a while now. The brand, made for the expanding Indian market back in the year 2000, has had quite an amazing offline presence so far; their online presence, however, needs work, and Flipkart might be the key.
As for what’s in it for Flipkart is concerned, the retailer has been looking to sell more phones in tier 2 and tier 3 markets, and Micromax will give it the exact products to sell. Micromax’s already existing popularity in certain segments of the Indian market would only serve to boost sales, and flow more business Flipkart’s way.
The online retailer that just received a fresh round to the tune of $1.4 billion in funding seems to be warming up to the idea of expanding beyond. The move might be a good one at that. The Indian e-commerce market is basically flooded with names, and brands, and it is also at the moment, struggling, to keep up. Flipkart has managed to prove itself to be the bigger of the players in the market, recently also having acquired Myntra, and Jabong, its two biggest competitors in the clothing/fashion e-retail business. However, to maintain its edge now, it’ll have to keep being innovative, and smart.
The same goes for Micromax, the smartphone company that once changed the face of the smartphone market in India by bringing cheaper better budget phones in a time when phones used to be an “investment”. The brand, another Indian baby, of course, became quite popular amongst the populace, but with the advent of the Chinese budget brands like Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and the likes into the Indian market, Micromax’s stand started to shake. While Micromax mocked up the better phones in the Indian market, these brands worked on mocking up the international biggies. Microsoft dropped out of the top-5 selling smartphone list last year, and now it’s struggling to climb back up.
In a space where Flipkart is defending itself against Amazon, the American giant that has been only half as old as Flipkart in the Indian market, and where Micromax is defending itself against the Chinese budget brands that are just growing by the day, the partnership might be a key strategic move for the both of them.