Motorola sales up 400pc as Lenovo interest rockets

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UK sales top 1.1 million as market responds to new value focussed device strategy

Motorola is ahead of schedule with its growth expectations after seeing handset shipments soar by 400 per cent in the UK and 450 per cent in Europe last year.

The manufacturer’s UK and Ireland general manager Nick Muir revealed the figures and the driving forces behind those to Mobile News, less than four months after its £1.82 billion sale by Google to IT technology firm Lenovo.

“We have surprised many with our growth and stunned the doubters to a degree,” said Muir.

Motorola shipped 1.1 million handsets in the UK last year, up from around 250,000 in 2013. It also saw the same level of growth in Europe, although Muir declined to reveal these figures.
Over the past year its EMEA presence has grown from three countries in Europe (UK,

Germany and France) to 15 by the end of last year, with more than 10 in Europe. It also went from selling its products in 10 countries globally in 2014 to 51 by year end.

Ahead of target
In November, Lenovo chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing vowed to return Motorola to profitability in 4-6 quarters while in February the company revealed Motorola had shipped 10 million smartphones globally in Q4 – up 118 per cent year-on-year and the most smartphones it has ever shipped in a three month financial period.

“We’re ahead of expectation at the moment in terms of Lenovo’s position on where we stand and our growth,” said Muir. “They have been pleasantly surprised by our ability to turn the corner, grow and to continue with that.

“Our success over the past 12-15 months has been dramatic and pronounced, especially when you consider the number of devices we have had in the market place and the amount of money we have spent to drive that.

“We have a number of channels and routes to market that have suddenly become shared and the combined power does help in terms of the breadth of the consumer offer suddenly available through these channels.”

Muir also attributes Motorola’s rapid growth, which saw its UK smartphone sales share rise from below one per cent to six per cent in just over a year, to its consumer handset proposition across its Moto G, X and E smartphone ranges, which he claims provide high-end experiences for consumers at affordable prices.

Motorola released upgraded and second generation versions of the G and X at Berlin’s IFA trade show in September, and followed this with the 2015 model of the E the week before MWC.

At Carphone Warehouse for example, the second generation Moto G is free on contract from £11 per month and £119 on prepay while the Moto E is free from £12.50 per month and is priced at £89.99 on prepay. In fact the first Moto G, which was released in November 2013, has gone on to become the firm’s best-selling handset ever globally.

“It’s down to the consumer proposition,” said Muir. “Up until the launch of the Moto G, nobody had worked out why a consumer should have to spend £500 on a new handset to enjoy a premium experience. You really don’t need to.

‘Driving great success’
“We started with the one level we thought would be the most appealing, which was Moto G, and we expanded that upwards and downwards to give the choice some colour and breadth. Whether it is a Moto G, X or E, the same basic experience is there.

“We have to be realistic though: we have had great success but we have to keep driving all those things that have made us so successful. What we now do very well is make sure we are available in a number of different channels and we have tried to make that as broadly available as possible, whether it’s through a carrier, retailer or SIM-free online, and that has been enormous.”

Lenovo’s the “driving force” behind Motorola’s transformation in the UK

Motorola praised parent company Lenovo for being the driving force behind its resurgence, calling it the “perfect time” to take advantage of its global sales and distribution network.

The manufacturer’s president and CEO Rick Osterloh  (pictured centre) was addressing a small crowd of partners and journalists on Lenovo’s stand on March 3. Osterloh said Motorola was gaining “great traction” as a result of the acquisition, seeing the number of countries it has a sales presence in grow five-fold to 51 in the past year-and-a-half, with unit shipments doubling over the past year.

“We have got some great traction – for example, we’ve just re-entered China. We’ve gone from being in 10 countries some 18 months ago to 51 now, and shipments have grown over 100 per cent in the past year.

“It’s the perfect time to be part of Lenovo, where we can take advantage of the company’s tremendous scale, as well as its great sales and distribution assets all over the world.”

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