There are dozens, probably more, of smartphone brands. All aim for the same thing, namely popularity and sales. The more people buy a certain brand, the more popularity it gains, which ultimately works to its advantage through boosting its brand and increasing revenue.
However, the market does not forgive. We’ve seen what happened to previously popular brands including Nokia, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Sony and even the now defunct LG: brands made mistakes in their marketing and brand awareness programs, and when it happened, others rushed in. and replaced them.
Chinese brands in recent years have done very well in emerging markets. Their strategy is very simple: offer more value for a reduced price. The approach undermines market leaders, not by much, but notable enough to force major phone makers to adjust their strategies as well.
realme, which has been in the Kenyan market for quite some time, came late to the scene when other brands were already established. It has nonetheless attempted to make a name for itself with several launches of phones at a bargain price for Kenyans. This approach has also been used by other smartphones affiliated with BBK and Transsion in Kenya. The model has also been replicated in other emerging markets.
Rumor has it that realme will increase its annual research and development budget by 58%. This, according to realme, will help stabilize its business as it looks forward to shaping its long-term strategy.
The result is that realme will start shipping more quality phones to Kenya from 2023 through improved technology innovation. The same measures will, Realme hopes, make the brand more attractive to young people.
“This means you can expect even more exceptional Number Series phones, as our Number Series is our ‘essential’ product line, bringing together essential technology in one sleek package with an accessible price,” said Sky Li, CEO from realme.
realme is one of the newest offshoots of BBK Electronics, which also owns OPPO, vivo, IQOO and OnePlus. This is an impressive array of brands competing for market leadership. There are others too, including Xiaomi and its Redmi sub-brand that aim to appeal to the same customer audience.
realme reports that it has sold over 100 million smartphones since it began operations four years ago. It serves 61 markets. It also recorded an annual growth of 548% in 2021.
realme notes that it won’t expand to new markets in the next 18 months, as adopting a unified global product line will reduce product launches by 35% in 2023.
Instead, it is looking to focus more on its home turf in China, as well as India with millions of shipments. This will create 15 additional markets with more shipments over the next three years.
“We call this new market focus our ‘market culture’ strategy, which will place particular emphasis on our two 10 million shipping markets while working to build a core of fifteen shipping markets of ‘one million,” Li said.
While annual global smartphone shipments fell 11% to 311.2 million units in the first quarter of 2022, realme was seeing notable sales in Kenya and other markets on the continent.