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Nokia Phones has the Edge to crack UK top three within 12 months

Paul Withers
August 30, 2017

HMD Global UK and Ireland general manager claims manufacturer has what it takes to challenge market leaders

Nokia Phones can become the third biggest smartphone manufacturer in the UK within a year as it looks to challenge Samsung and Apple.

That is the claim made by HMD Global UK and Ireland general manager Sarah Edge, who was speaking to Mobile News following the launch of the high-end Nokia 8 on August 16.

Retail availability, pricing and further partners for the device will be announced on September 6. This will be followed by a multi-million pound marketing campaign to display the enhancements of its camera.

The Nokia 8 will follow the Nokia 3, 5 and 6, which are now available across retailers including Carphone Warehouse, EE, Vodafone, Argos, Tesco, Virgin and Amazon.

Fantastic start

“The Nokia 3 and 6 have got off to a really fantastic start and at one of the big retailers we became number three within just two weeks of them being on sale,” said Edge.

“It’s giving us the impression that if we can get things right, we can be a really strong number three in the UK market within 12 months, giving our rivals a run for their money, having really established ourselves with high-quality products with the support of good partners.

“Can we then challenge Apple and Samsung? Absolutely, why not? Consumers are looking for different smartphones at different price points and to be a serious player, we have to challenge them because they make up so much of the market.”

However, despite being impressed with HMD’s ambition for the UK market, industry analysts were sceptical as to whether Nokia Phones can achieve these aims. 

The multi-million pound marketing campaign will focus on the imaging capabilities on the new Nokia 8 smartphone

Stiff competition

According to figures from analyst IDC, LG was the third biggest smartphone manufacturer in the UK for the first six months of this year, selling 840,000 units with market share of seven per cent. 

Apple leads with sales figures of 5.34 million units and 44 per cent share, while Samsung is second having sold 5.39 million devices and gaining market share of 28 per cent. Nokia Phones doesn’t currently feature in the top five biggest manufacturer list.

GfK’s Tech360 report for Q1 has revealed that Nokia Phones has the second highest consideration (16 per cent) among consumers after Sony among the challenger brands outside of Apple and Samsung.

Those currently using a Motorola device are most likely to consider Nokia Phones (outside of those already using Nokia Phones and Microsoft devices) along with those using a handset from Sony Mobile and LG.

Ambitious goal

CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood said: “If they get Carphone Warehouse and all the major operator behind them, there is certainly a chance they can hit the top five but getting to top three is a very ambitious goal when you have companies all in the mix and competing for that share.

“There is no question that the Nokia brand has a lot of recognition in the UK market and that will give them an advantage over someone like Huawei, but it requires a significant financial commitment.

IDC research director for European mobile devices in EMEA Francisco Jeronimo agreed: “They would need to sell around two million units over the course of the year to take the number three spot.

“It’s too ambitious because Huawei is growing well and might have more money to invest at the point of sale. However, if HMD doesn’t achieve their target in 12 months, they could do it within 18-24 months.”

Potentially realistic

However, GfK director of technology Imran Choudhary was slightly more optimistic, adding: “Their target is potentially realistic considering they have really good brand consideration here.

“It will be interesting to see how they execute their strategy and go to market with it but when you look at the UK landscape, a number of challenger brands have got to number three so they have a fighting chance.”

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