Energizer betting on mobile accessories in India sans the Energizer Bunny

Energizer betting on mobile accessories in India sans the Energizer Bunny

On 5 July, Energizer announced its foray into the Indian market. Brought to India by Avenir Telecom – the company that holds the license for the 'Energizer' brand – the Energizer Bunny that has been popular for years, is missing.

Energizer, a leading battery brand, launched a slew of accessories including tempered glass, USB cables, charging solutions, USB hub stations, anti shock and waterproof cases and much more. A Bluetooth-controlled surge protector will launch near the end of the year.

Back at Mobile World Congress near the end of February, the US-based manufacturer had introduced two smartphones – Energizer Energy E520LTE and Energy E55LTE – and where the company's first two smartphones since the Energizer Energy 400 and Energizer 500 back in June of 2015. The company chose not to launch these smartphones in the Indian market.

Manish Prasad, India, South Asia and South East Asia Sales and Business Development Director, Avenir Telecom, told Catch News that they are looking “forward to launch new smart phones by the end of this year worldwide”. That would include the India region.

All the accessories went on sale in both the online – Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Tata Cliq - and retail channels on 17 July. Paras Group has been partnered for the distribution in the offline market across 15 major cities.

With the Energizer Bunny missing from its portfolio, it's anybody's guess as to whether the new mascot, Mr Energizer, will work for the brand.

Manish Prasad talks to Catch about the mobile accessories market, Energizer's vision in India, GST and more. Here are the edited excerpts:

Manish Prasad, Energizer India

Manish Prasad, Energizer India

Sahil Bhalla (SB): Why did Energizer launch mobile accessories in India first and not the smartphones that were announced earlier in the year?

Manish Prasad (MD): The brand is yet to announce smart phones in India. As far as mobile accessories are concerned, we have been studying the market for quite some time now and realized that this would be the best time to hit the market as there is no competition in the International brand (Premium Category) segment. As we have offered the best prices for the Indian market, the Indian consumers are accepting the brand and the price range really well.

SB: Beyond the two smartphones launched at MWC, does Energizer plan on launching any other smartphones later in the year?

MD: Energizer will always keep innovating and revolutionizing. We launch new products at all the major international exhibitions where we showcase our products. We are looking forward to launching new smart phones by the end of this year worldwide.

SB: How big do you think the smartphone accessories/peripherals market will get by the year 2020?

MD: According to the Industry size and research done by various organizations it would be around 10000 crore by 2020.

SB: Which of the accessories do you expect to be the best sellers among the ones launched by the company?

MD: We are expecting good numbers from all our charging solutions category (Cables/chargers/USB multi port hubs/Car kits which are specifically designed for Indian customers and the Universal tempered glasses from the Anti shock category along with waterproof/anti shock cases for smart phones of high-end brands.

SB: It's curious as to why the famous Energizer Bunny wasn't brought to India. Can you elaborate on that?

MD: We are bringing a brand new mascot for India for a ---- emotional connect with the Indian audiences. It is known as Mr Energizer.

SB: Another thing curiously missing from the line-up was power banks. Why so?

MD: Power banks category in India is in a state where price is primarily dominating the market and consumer needs to be educated about the battery life aspect of the product category. As of now, one cannot be sure if the product is meeting the battery standard, which the brand claims. The market is too cluttered. Hence, we believe it is the right time for the brand to explore other categories of products which are innovative and new for the Indian market under which we plan to launch the product in the times ahead.

SB: Do you expect most sales to come from the offline market, and why is that?

MD: We are launching Energizer’s mobile accessories in all channels in India so we expect steady sales from all the channels. We expect tremendous organic growth in the online market. So, we are launching the brand in all the major portals. For the offline market, our strategy is focused on the top 15 cities in India to make a huge impact on the Indian audiences. We have tied up with all the major power retailers / LFR’s for a steady business growth.

SB: Apart from peripherals and eventually smartphones, does the company plan to invest in any other areas in India?

MD: As we have just entered the market, we plan to continue to invest in the mobile accessories and smartphones category, as of now. However, we are open explore other potential areas of business.

SB: How will GST be affecting the sales and marketing of the Energizer brand in India?

MD: We have launched our products post the GST era in India. As we have long term plans for the country, we are going to build the brand and we expect the sales will pick up slowly. The market is slow right now and it will be easier for us to manage the mechanism of the brand than the other players which already existed in the market. Hence, we don’t think GST will have much impact on the sales and marketing of Energizer.

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