itel|Mobile Phone Brand Differentiation

Indian Localization Market Research and User Experience Design

itel, a mobile phone brand of Transsion Holdings, is about to enter the Indian market. How to improve the product competitiveness of itel mobile phones and achieve brand differentiation and innovation under the background that many well-known mobile phone manufacturers have successively explored the Indian market?

Background and challenges

India, the new engine of global mobile Internet growth.


The report shows that most of the countries with the largest incremental space for mobile Internet in the world are developing countries, which are mainly concentrated in Asia. Among these countries, India’s incremental space has reached 75% and surpassed the US’s 247 million with 325 million mobile Internet users, becoming the world’s second largest mobile Internet market after China.



Data shows that unlike China’s gradual transition from the Internet era to the mobile Internet era, the majority of Indian users have entered the mobile Internet era directly. 76% of the population owns a mobile device (including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone). Interestingly, smartphone users account for only 16.9 percent of India’s population. As the world’s second largest mobile Internet market, India has more than 300 million Internet users. However, the number of people with access to smartphones remains small and the penetration rate of mobile Internet is still low.


As a result, India is the best market for Chinese smartphone companies and mobile Internet companies and has a huge potential market in the field of smart phones.


For foreign mobile Internet companies and entrepreneurs, they need to understand the local market environment when they first enter India. It is worth noting that India is a multi-lingual and multi-religious country, with numerous religious celebration parties which increase opportunities for users to communicate and share offline. The background of cultural differences brings many difficulties for brand development. itel was also faced with the problem of not knowing how to create products suitable for the Indian market environment.


Therefore, from the perspective of user experience, we conduct an in-depth study on user consumption needs and preferences in the Indian consumer market, so as to help clarify product positioning, play to its strengths and accelerate the process of product localization.


Insights and Design

Research on India’s Mobile Consumer Market


| Market analysis to extend competitive advantage

First of all, we make an in-depth research on the report on mobile Internet user analysis around the world to understand the price, brand, the size of mobile phones preferred by users in different regions at a macro level and especially the demand for mobile phone camera functions. After detailed comparison and analysis, come out the unique competitive advantages of itel mobile phone in the African market. Based on the similarities and differences between the consumption demands of the African market and the south Asian Indian market, we consider the opportunities existing in the market transition and selectively retain, extend and give play to its original characteristic functions.


User research to define consumer positioning

With other brands preemptively occupying a certain market share, it is extremely important to accurately target the product crowd. By consulting relevant data and analyzing the length of time users spend in surfing online of all ages around the world and find that young people aged 16-25 had the highest degree of dependence on the Internet, followed by those who aged 26-35. They use their mobile phones for more than 3 hours per day on average (Data in 2016). Figures show that 800 millions of India’s 1.3 billion people are under the age of 35. About 65% of Indians are reckoned to spend at least 2.61 hours a day online. Therefore, young people under the age of 35 May become a powerful consumer group of mobile Internet in India.



However, the popularity of smartphones in India is still in its infancy. At this stage, the main factor affecting user purchase is cost-effectiveness, which has been fully verified by the market in the early days of China ’s smartphone outbreak in 2011. Therefore, this also applies to the current Indian market. Statistics show that among the mobile phone prices chosen by Indian users, smartphones ranging from Rs 2,000-5,000 (RMB 199-499) are the most popular among Indian users. At the same time, 70% of users will buy phones below Rs 10,000 (RMB 999). Obviously, Indian users are very sensitive to the price of smart phones. There’s no doubt that cost-effectiveness is the primary factor affecting Indian users’ purchases.


Based on the above research analysis and in-depth consideration, we finally locate the young blue-collar class with a large base and relatively low income as the main consumer. Most of them are new to smartphones, and many of them are still stuck with feature phones. However, it will effectively stimulate a considerable number of potential consumer groups after reasonable guidance and promotion. Then consumer demand may show explosive growth. Considering their average education level, there is more demand for entertainment and education. They also have specific preferences for taking photos and sharing them on the social media.


Competitive product analysis, local cognitive transformation

At the same time, we make in-depth research on the related competitors which occupy the main share of sales in the Indian market, focusing on the research of the Indian local mobile phone Micromax. Through in-depth analysis of its unique features and related data to refine the design of localized transformation design.


In the actual research process, we compare Micromax with itel phones. By studying the characteristics of Micromax hardware and built-in app, the system framework structure and special interaction form are summarized. Detailed analysis was made from mobile contacts, camera beauty, app market, shopping entrance, music app and plug-in support, traffic management, and features such as Micromax online doctor and more.


Furthermore, classify and evaluate the availability of Micromax services to summarize their advantages and disadvantages for later design guidance:Micromax’s product price positioning and functional services are accurate to meet with users’ consumption ability and needs. In particular, it provides a large number of search entries to meet users’ Internet search needs and attract a large number of users by providing localized services. However, Micromax also has the problem that the interface beautification is not good enough and the use of native interaction is not conducive to the transformation of local cognition.


Summarization of mobile phone system applications and functional requirements


Based on a detailed study of the Micromax mobile phone, the most characteristic drawer-type system main frame and negative one-screen design are refined and applied to localized characteristic application scenarios. In order to further understand the localized sinking interaction architecture and expressions, we conduct an in-depth analysis of its Indus OS system, which has the highest market share in India. Research mainly on the user’s high-frequency interface, shopping mall, SMS and other operation options, especially the process framework of language input and conversion functions.



At the same time, through statistics and analysis of Indian users’ mobile desktops and commonly used apps, pictures and videos are found to be in great demand. Communication and tools applications are most popular among Indian users. In addition, they prefer action and arcade games and are more willing to use simple and customary interaction methods.


A detailed analysis of the Indus OS system further proves the native applicability of the simple interaction mode. Indus OS mostly uses a single-layer operation interface, and the process switching is simple and clear. Swipe left or right to easily switch between English and 12 local languages. Simply copying text can translate between English and regional languages. At the same time, it can read the text aloud, effectively eliminating the language barrier during the use of mobile phones.


The system architecture and characteristic functional requirements are summarized into the following aspects, which guide the detailed localization design schemes thereafter:

-Negative one-screen local characteristic application scene

-Multi-language support for easy conversion between English and regional languages

-Provide localized special services

-Simple interaction, easy to use and easy to operate


Interactive Innovation and Visual Design Style Application

Based on the detailed research results, combined with specific product positioning and design goals, we develop the system based on the Android system, using the simplest form of interaction possible.


Most domestic first-line brands have adopted a single-screen operation mode. However, we find that Indian users have not accepted this interaction mode sufficiently. Therefore, we finally chose not to follow the masses but to retain the design of the second-tier desktop and use the form of a negative screen to better meet the needs of Indian users and try various innovations, including lock screen notifications, shortcut function settings, and optimize the functions of the main menu.


In terms of vision, considering that India is a country that likes music, dance and various colorful elements, we use rich colors to express the pursuit of colorful life of locals and create a familiarity for users. This better integrates into their lives and realizes the localization of design.

Summary and Outlook

itel entered the Indian market in April 2016. Data shows that itel phones have occupied 8% of the Indian mobile phone market in less than a year, becoming the third largest brand. The localized design further optimizes the mobile phone experience on the basis of continuation of the user’s original operation mode, helping them quickly establish new usage habits, which reflects the unique product advantages of itel among other mobile phone brands.