Honor has seen global sales rocket from one million to 20 million in just two years. Honor 7 smartphone to be unveiled in UK, August 27.
Huawei’s e-commerce brand Honor is expected to reach sales of more than 40 million this year, following an “incredible” 12 months of growth.
The Chinese brand was launched by Huawei back in late 2013 following the success of fellow country manufacturer Xiaomi, which sold 7.2 million handsets in 2012 and almost 19 million in 2013 almost exclusively online.
Since then Honor’s popularity in its home market has grown significantly, with sales rising from just one million in 2013 to more than 20 million in 2014. During this period revenues for Honor, which are reported separately to Huawei, increased from $100 million to $2.4 billion.
Of the 20 million Honor handsets sold last year, just 1.5 million were sold outside of China. However, the manufacturer expects international sales to more than quadruple by the end of this year to six million, having launched in more than 70 markets – including the UK back in October.
This expansion, plus the ability to compete with the “best of the best” at “fraction of the price” will, according to UK and Ireland head Nicola Philbin, see it break 40 million sales by the end of the year.
“Everyone was amazed by what that brand [Xiami] achieved in such a short space of time and absolutely we wanted to establish an e-commerce strategy,” said Philbin who spent more than a decade with Huawei, leaving her position as head of consumer business for Honor in June.
“We are very ambitious and have some massive growth plans this year. Honor has already executed a very strong strategy in Asia and we will aim to replicate some of that success over here. From a specification point of view, we can compete with the very best the market has to offer.
The Honor brand first appeared in the UK last October through Amazon, with distribution managed by Ingram Micro Mobility) as well as directly through its HiHonor website. A number of Honor products have been launched including; Honor 3C, Honor Holly, Honor 4X and the Honor 6, each being targeted at the 18-30 market.
Philbin said Honor is able to utilise all the benefits of Huawei for handset production and R&D, but its decision to focus its marketing online and specific events (such as extreme sports), enables it to offer high-end products at a lower end cost.
“At the moment from an operator point of view, we are only working with Three,” said Philbin. “We are doing things differently to the mother company (Huawei) and we are engaging with the market in a different way. The main focus will always be e-commerce and targeting that 18-30 age group. People who want a great handset at an attractive price.”
She continued: “We want consumers to be brave and adopt a new brand and to be the black sheep. We are confident that when you try the device, it will meet all your requirements and surpass you expectations. Everyone who tried the Honor 6 loved it, and when you look at what you get, it’s a great proposition. People are stunned by what they get for the price.”
In March, Honor teamed up exclusively with operator Three to stock the dual SIM Honor 6+ smartphone (pictured), in what remains its only network partnership – a decision Philbin insists is that of the manufacturer and not through lack of appeal.
The partnership with Three in the UK was an extension of the relationship the pair share in Hong Kong, where both Honor and Huawei sit side-by-side in store.
Philbin confirmed the next Honor UK release, which will be the the Honor 7 (although she refused to name it), will be announced during a launch event in London August 27 and also be stocked by Three and one other as yet named retailer.
The device has been a “massive hit” in the firms home market, receiving more than nine million pre-orders in the first week of being announced in early July.
Features include 4G connectivity, dual SIM (one of which can be used as a MicroSD slot), 5.2 inch screen, fingerprint sensor, Andrew Lollipop, quadcore, 20 megapixel rear camera and eight megapixel front facing, up to 128GB memory (16GB or 64GB internal options) and HD video recording.
“People often see a handset as a fashion statement, and nine million people in China can’t be wrong,” said Philbin.
Huawei’s e-ccomerce brand Honor will continue its efforts to established in the UK market with the launch of its Honor 7 smartphone on August 27.
The device was first unveiled in the firms home market in China at the beginning of July and received a record nine million preorders in the first week.
Honor is the the E-commerce brand of Huawei, which launched in China back in 2013 , in what is widely regarded as a direct response to fellow Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi.
Honor UK Nicola Philbin said the partnership is an extension to relationship with Three parent Hutchinson Whampoa in Hong Kong where both Huawei and Honor brands appear side-by-side.
There are no plans to extend its retail reach or add more operator partnerships with online sales remaining the core strategy for the company.
Philbin claims the features included on Honor handsets can be compared with many “major high end” brands. She explained the firm is able to invest more into its products as a result of its online focus reducing overheads. She added the manufacturer has no intention of ever advertise the brand through traditional methods, such as TV and print.
Instead it will target online, such as social media as a well as events such as extreme sports which underpins its #brave company ethos
“We want customers to be brave and adopt a new brand. Everyone who has purchased the Honor 6 loves it . The reason we are able to offer such a strong proposition is because we are doing an e-commerce model.
“From a specification point of view, Honor can compete with the best.”