POCO has been quietly ramping up its image among youngsters. It’s a phone brand that young people prefer because of the performance factor. In a few days, a new phone from POCO is on the way and Hardik Pandya has been roped in as a brand ambassador. What can we expect? Let’s find out from Himanshu Tandon, country head, POCO India, about POCO X5 Pro 5G and more.
How is the year looking for POCO?
We have set strong targets for the year. If you look at the launches in Q1, we will be launching multiple products and setting the base for the entire year. We were among the top brands in 2022 and in 2023, apart from being focused on the online channel, we are looking to expand into offline, which has been the demand from a lot of fans.
You have a phone launch coming in a few days (POCO X5 Pro 5G). What do you want the focus to be?
The X series has always been very close to POCO fans. When we first launched the X series, the primary focus was on performance. Last year we made a deviation in terms of creating all-round performance. Based on the feedback from fans, they want POCO to be associated with performance only. So we went back to the roots to offer high performance in our next phone.
How important is it to tune the camera to local requirements?
One year back there was feedback from our fans that we have to tune our camera as per India requirements. Around eight months ago we appointed a dedicated India-specific team, which basically tunes the camera as per requirements in India. The skin tone here is different. Now that we have the team in place, we thought it would be a perfect time to have a 108MP pro-grade camera. We have made these changes in India to focus not only on performance, which is at the heart of POCO, but on other aspects as well.
How do you decide on software upgrades?
At the moment, the overall industry around this price bracket, offers two years of Android updates and three years of security upgrades. As our audience matures, I think this upgrade cycle will be more important.
Who are your most important customers — fans or those coming from other brands?
Last six to eight months we have worked on a lot of database. We have a number of series. And there is a common cohort we found across the series — the age bracket of 18 to 24. Compared to other brands that target people landing new jobs, our target audience is very young and niche. I think they want something different in terms of their identity and that comes through in POCO’s phone design. Also, our target audience enjoys a lot of films and watches a lot of sports. Considering these data points, we chose Hardik Pandya as our brand ambassador.
Where do you see the smartphone market this year? The days of inexpensive phones seem to be over.
I see an opportunity area for all OEMs — a transition from 4G to 5G. I think there will be mass adoption of 5G. Second, the under-10K market. We will see a certain normalisation under the 10K segment and in the 20-30K segment we are seeing some updates. It’s an opportunity area and I think the maximum number of innovations will happen in that price segment.
Any plans to expand into other categories?
We are looking to expand and that has been something fans and journalists have been asking for. We have two-three IoT categories in mind and we are in the finalisation stages. And if all goes well, you will see a non-mobile category launching soon under the POCO portfolio.