Huawei is not the first name you think of when talking about smartphones. This is especially the case for Kenya where the company has not had a very big presence. Even though Huawei is quite big globally (number 3 in terms of market share), the company is not that well known for its smartphones over here. In Kenya, Huawei has mostly focused on the B2B side for its operations providing services and products to other businesses.
As demand for smartphones go up in Kenya, Huawei wants to position itself to benefit from this going forward. This is why the company has today opened its first branded retail store in Kenya. Previously, Huawei has sold its devices through Safaricom shops and with the opening of its first branded store, the company is looking for more ways to grow its market share.
“In as much as B2B relationships are best on trust, emotions and aspirations, it all drills down to how favorable the product is to the consumers, its pricing and market competitions. Because of new entrants in the device market in Kenya and lots of competition, Huawei Technologies has re-engineered its device business by launching a first store at Garden City Mall, in Nairobi to directly reach its potential customers”, says Millicent Ngatia, Head of Marketing, Huawei Devices Kenya.
This Huawei retail shop at Garden City Mall is just the first one for the company and more will be coming in the next few months. Huawei has started with Nairobi given that 50% of all smartphone sales in Kenya come from Nairobi. The next stop for Huawei will be Rift Valley as 20% of all smartphone sales in the country come from there.
“In as much as consumers conduct heavy online research which involves blogs, analysts and using third party information platforms to make purchasing decisions, they mostly trust their gut hearing from the vendor in person. This is why we are bringing the brand to the face of our customers”, says Mark, Head of Devices, Huawei Devices Kenya.
Partnership with Safaricom?
Huawei will still continue working with Safaricom and most of its devices will be available at Safaricom shops. This new strategy by the company is just to help the company interact with Millennials who have different experiences when it comes to buying smartphones. To be honest, I think this is a great move for Huawei, the company needs to think beyond Safaricom if it is to grow its market presence in Kenya.