Nokia and BlackBerry are both targeting the fast-growing Indonesian market, one of each brands’ largest markets just few years ago, but re-entering the country will be a challenge because increased competition will hinder their growth, according to IDC.
While the research firm believes the vendors’ switch to the Android platform will make their brands more acceptable, the market – particularly the smartphone segment – has changed considerably since their glory days.
BlackBerry was the number one smartphone brand in Indonesia in 2012, while Nokia/Microsoft was top in total mobile phones the same year.
IDC argued BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) played a big role in getting the vendor’s devices in the hands of smartphone users in the past, but BBM is available on other devices now. In addition, device competition changed with the entry of aggressive China-based vendors.
HMD Global recently launched Nokia-branded phones, and the BlackBerry Aurora was released in Indonesia by BB Merah Putih.
“The Nokia and BlackBerry smartphones have decent specs, but they are priced to compete where the China-based vendors have already made their domain,” said Risky Febrian, IDC associate market analyst. “These vendors have successfully established themselves not only at the right price-point, but also with socially popular features such a selfie enhancing front cameras. This is where Nokia and BlackBerry are challenged, as just having decent specs would be insufficient for end-users to gain purchase interest.”
IDC said a new 30 per cent local content requirement for 4G handsets is another barrier. While the regulation will not affect the entrance of the BlackBerry Aurora, which already complies with the requirement, it could impact the competitive edge of Nokia’s smartphones as it is uncertain how HMD will comply with the regulation when it comes into effect this year.
Febrian said the Nokia 3310 remake (pictured) is a good opportunity for Nokia to make its mark again in Indonesia: “But it rides largely on nostalgia and with limited features is meant to only target a niche group of users who grew up with that model. Apart from these users, the market may not react well to it due to its price of IDR700,000 ($52), nearly double the average selling price of other feature phones.“ he said.
Nokia last year lead the feature phone market in Indonesia with a 25 per cent market share under Microsoft ownership.