By Martin Ekpeke
Tecno Mobile, one of Africa based franchise retail network offering low-cost smartphone in the continent sold over 9 million smartphones in 2016 alone, says a GSMA report.
The report titled ‘Accelerating affordable smartphone ownership in emerging markets’that was published few days ago disclosed that the handset brand, which first entered the African market in 2006 and since then has sold more than 45 million mobile phones across the continent, also accounts for about 50 per cent of the total smartphone market share in Africa, especially Nigeria where over 15 million people are said to be using one form of a smartphone.
It also noted that Tecno Mobile has achieved an even greater share in certain markets like Tanzania, where it has achieved 63.4% market share and sells 100,000 phones each month.
The Tecno brand has worked hard to reposition its brand perception over the last couple of years to move away from being seen as only a manufacturer of value for money smartphones with the introduction of the higher-end Phantom series. The brand is now seen to be a trusted alternative providing durable lower priced devices that continue to innovate.
In the last few years, Tecno has introduced four models in their markets. Among the high end smartphones introduced by the company are: The Phantom series, which is a higher-end device offering 4 GIG Ram, 32 GIG internal storage and a 13MP camera; The Camon series targeting social media users and offers 16MP front camera with dual flash and a 16MP AF back camera with ring flash and photo editing capabilities.
Others are The Boom series targeting music and entertainment customers and owns deep bass and full range sound for a superior audio experience; and The W and Y series which are value for money handsets targeted at low-income consumers.
Tecno Mobile’s distinct strategies:
Tecno Mobile sells through diverse channels, including sales through MNOs, other retailers and Tecno’s own franchise retail network. Retail stores serve multiple strategic purposes for Tecno: they serve as a point of sale; build brand awareness; function as service centres, further strengthening Tecno’s brand and customer loyalty; and are a collection point for customer feedback.
This channel strategy is supported by a network of warehouses and a streamlined supply chain. In countries like Tanzania, this franchise retail network has a significant presence in secondary cities and more rural areas, facilitating access to hard to reach populations in Peoria-urban and rural areas.
Tecno Mobile invests significantly in understanding the needs of the customer and designs handsets to meet demand – for example, understanding that for customers in West Africa battery life is an important factor as opposed to their East African counterparts who place higher value in better cameras.
Tecno works effectively with manufacturers to source products at a low cost. Presently, Tecno continues to build on their success, including moving part of their manufacturing capabilities to plants in Ethiopia and Egypt.