HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Although heated competition and decreasing price rates are attracting more consumers to the cell phone market, there are also complaints of decreasing sales. Stakeholders blame the unstable political situation and unreliable dollar to be responsible
for dismal trade. However, companies have been coming forward with new launches since the beginning of the year.
Neoteric (Nepal) Pvt Ltd, authorised dealer for Nokia, has launched eight different models since January. Asmin Kafley, area sales manager of the company, says, “The presence of Nokia is very strong on low range models that cost up to Rs 11,000. At present, we are focusing on customers who seek multi-media, social network, e-mail, and internet within limited budget.” The company claims that customers are attracted to Nokia Asha and Nokia X2-02, priced at Rs 7,250 and Rs 6,750 respectively, while the one that sells most is Nokia 1280, priced at Rs 1,750. Kafley says, “We’re trying our best to cater to consumers, but sales are hampered due to political instability, strikes and fluctuating dollar rate. This has especially troubled Nokia’s touch screen segment.” Hoping for better sales, the company is planning to launch Nokia Windows phone — Lumia 808 Pureview — in the domestic market. It also aims to launch five models within mid-June and expand its reach to remote areas.
In the last five months, Inter-national Marketing Service (IMS), authorised distributor of Samsung Mobiles, has launched five models targeting middle income group and high-end customers. Puskal Khatiwada, marketing manager of IMS says, “Our market has been growing as we pay complete attention to all aspects of consumer preference from price
to features. However, the overall cell phone market is lagging due to continuous closures.” According to Khatiwada, their most favoured handset is Samsung Y Duos, priced at Rs 16,190.
TeleTalk Pvt Ltd, authorised dealer of BlackBerry, Colors and Spice mobiles, is also offering various models targeting diverse clientele. Geeta Neupane, marketing manager of the company, says, “BlackBerry mobiles are preferred by executive and corporate clients. However, we face challenges like limited market, lack of product knowledge among clients and craze for iPhones. We plan to boost sales by providing after sales assistance and authorised handsets
at best prices. Our top priority is to launch timely products, increase the market share and make customers aware of our products.” The company launched four BlackBerry models this year, among which Torch, priced at Rs 47,995, was most talked about. However, their highest selling model was Curve 9300 priced at Rs 23,250.
Similarly, Colors added seven models to its portfolio since January, out of which X9, available at Rs 6,500, impressed buyers the most. Likewise, Spice mobiles, which especially targets students, launched 13 best models in the domestic market this year. The company claims that
customers enquire most about its Spice M6440, priced at Rs 4,500, while M5460 sold most as the low-end full multi-media touch phone. Neupane adds, “Our greatest challenge is fighting against the grey market, which we are planning to overcome. Colors has plans to penetrate the whole market, while Spice will focus on high-end models, especially touch and Android phones, in the near future.”
Meanwhile, Murarka Organisation, under which Pashupati Trade Links (PTL) is the authorised dealer of Karbonn mobiles and PK Traders of ZTE mobiles for Nepal, also reports launching a number of models.
Bhupal Chettri, sales manager of both the companies, says, “Karbonn mobiles are targeted at middle and low income group, rural and semi-urban consumers, and it is the number one Indian brand in the Nepali market.” PTL launched 15 Karbonn mobiles this year, among which K9 is the favourite, priced at Rs 3,682. Although no ZTE models have been introduced since past five months, the company plans to follow aggressive marketing and promotion. Chettri admits, “We are facing a slump in sales at present due to economic and political instability. While the inflation is at all-time high, income levels have remained stagnant.”
Last year, Nokia was the clear market leader, responsible for 45 per cent of mobile sales, followed by Samsung at 33 per cent, Spice at 13, Karbonn at 10, ZTE at five and BlackBerry at one per cent. Although the outcome this year is yet to be seen, the volatile market seems to account for a worrying sales drop at present.