Despite having intense competition LAVA has emerged as one of the most preferred feature phone brand in India with a current market share of 13%

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MobilityIndia recently interacted with Mr. Tejinder Singh, who is now heading Lava’s feature phone segment and discussed various aspects of its growth and sustainability.

Good to see Lava with great numbers in the feature phone segment market, your comment on it.
India has always been a primary market for Lava in terms of feature phones and we have always maintained an extremely strong position in the Feature Phone segment. It is our focus, strong R&D capability in India, commitment to empower Indian customers and most importantly perseverance which have helped us to achieve this. Over the last 10 years, we have been building capabilities within India in product design & manufacturing – in order to make valuable technologies accessible and provide reliable products to our customers. We are the only brand to have complete end-to-end control on product value chain within India complemented by our robust distribution network and speedy customer service.

All these essentials have encouraged us to innovate further to provide the best quality products to our customers. Despite having intense competition LAVA has emerged as one of the most preferred feature phone brand in India with a current market share of 13%. Going forward, we will continue to grow and reach the top of the table in this segment. Our confidence in our quality is reflected in our unique one year replacement promise

Q. It seems like Lava is the only Indian brand that making some kind of effort to keep them afloat, when we have seen unprecedented growth by Chinese brands, in which price segment now Lava wants to focus in smartphone?
We already have a very strong presence in the Sub $200 price segment and that is our focus for the coming months. We know that we have several advantages over our competition. Along with our strong products, our single-layer distribution model is also quite unique in this industry and it is one of our biggest strengths. This is a tangible model compared to the multiple layered distribution model adopted by others. We also have a large retail footprint with full control on inventory.
Also, in the e-commerce space, we have several strategic tie-ups.
Our exponential growth is the work of a carefully planned strategy, and that’s why despite immense competition, we have clocked good growth by doubling our market share in a year. For us, the biggest value a company is able to create is excellence and this is our focus.
We are exploring strategic partnerships with operators also which will be additional advantage for us

Q. As India has still 400 million feature phone users, will Lava still go aggressive in this market?
A. Absolutely. We have a strong foothold in the feature phone segment and we continue to grow at a rapid pace. We are the innovation leader within the segment and we provide unique experience to our customers. We just launched our new feature phone- Lava A7 Wave, which is the first ever feature phone to have a dual tone back cover. Our bouquet of products in this segment, cater to a huge customer base, providing unique and exceptional feature according to their needs. Our feature phone are extremely durable, long lasting along with their beautiful looks to add value to this segment. This is a huge segment for us and we will continue to focus on it in the coming years.

Q. What will be the positioning strategy for Lava and XOLO?
A. In today’s competitive mobile handset industry, the biggest advantage that we have as an Indian brand is that we understand the Indian consumers very well. We work on our brand strengths which are product and service quality, reliability and right consumer experience – in terms of both hardware & software. We make valuable technology available and accessible to our consumers along with novelty in product designing through both our brands Lava & Xolo.

Q. In the recent time we have seen lots of distributors and retailers lost faith with mobile brands due to heavy dues, non cooperation of brands and close of operations, what will be your message to them?
A. For us, all are partners in this business are valuable. In addition to our preparation in products, we built a unique capability in sales too, which is backed by a technology platform. It offers unique solution to the biggest problem and cost of offline retail, “Inventory obsolescence”. More than 1,65,000 retailers, their entire business and Lava’s inventory is online on this platform. Lava was declared most trustworthy brand amongst retailers in 2018 followed by Samsung and Vivo-CMR retail sentiment index 2018.

Q. In the coming years what can expect from this Indian brand?
A. We already have a strong foothold in India in the sub-$100 segment. We see a huge potential in the sub-$200 price segment .This segment today stands at $113 billion with a CAGR of 15% over the last five years and Lava can emerge as Global leader in this segment. To work towards this milestone, we are consistently increasing our vendor and supply chain base from India, thus bringing efficiency and the advantage of Indian cost. Today, about 25% parts of our low-end phones are procured within India which has a good cost advantage.

We have also started our operations in 26 other countries in the last 3 years and continue to grow rapidly in these markets too. We have become No. 1 in Egypt in less than 6K segment in a short span of time.