Mobile News Spotlight feature – GSL Purchasing Director, Bav Majithia talks accessories
Despite the uncertainties of Brexit, Bav Majithia says the market is booming as consumers demand more high-quality protection and auxiliary power supply products.
Both play a big part. Consumers are prepared to spend more, particularly on premium brands for higher-quality products that complement their valuable devices. Price barriers are being removed through more funding options for what is seen as an essential expense.
Genuine has responded to these demands by ranging more premium-branded products and, in particular, luxury lifestyle brands such as BMW, Guess or Karl Lagerfeld. Later this quarter we will be revealing even more exclusives on higher-quality products. But we are also seeing growing demand for ethical products, reflecting the different dynamics at play in our industry.
What are the most popular product types (e.g. sound, energy, audio, protection)?
Audio, power and protection products are the pillars of the accessory industry. With increasing reliance on devices, users need assurance that their devices will be powered up. They demand a better-quality audio experience. Because their devices are so valuable, they need assurance that the devices are protected. When we are designing our product road maps, these are the core products that dominate our ranges. But it is important to maintain a lookout on newer categories that are expanding, such as connected wearables.
Do you expect accessory prices to be hit by Brexit and/or China trade wars?
We don’t feel impacted by China trade wars. These are largely with the USA. There is no evidence that accessories prices will be hit by Brexit. Until we see the terms of any Brexit deal, it is difficult to say for sure. But Britain has many friends within Europe that rely on us trading. It also looks like we will have invitations to join other trade pacts. So we are not expecting accessories prices to be suddenly affected. We remain confident of our abilities to maintain our focus.
Do you see the growth curve for accessories rising or flat?
Definitely rising as more uses are identified for devices and users become more reliant on them, creating a knock-on effect. Looking back we can see how the accessories market has grown and continues to grow with new products such as wearables and wireless charging technologies. Also, a big aspect of our business is ethical technology and graded products. So whilst we see a large demand for higher-value products, we are also seeing the growth in ethical products as people have been inspired to reduce plastic.
Are fake and counterfeit accessories still a major problem?
The counterfeit industry is becoming more sophisticated and the accessories industry will have to work harder to fight back. Our solution has been to invest heavily in more robust quality assurance and be more selective with who we work with. We also champion recycled technology. We need to challenge incidences of big tech brands wasting perfectly good returned or end-of-life product by declaring it counterfeit when it is a commercial control tactic. This is unnecessary waste.
What will be the main drivers of growth in mobile phone accessories?
New technology will be the main driver. We expect to see an explosion of innovation and the lowering of prices on technologies such as wireless charging. Female users are driving accessories growth as women are now the heaviest users of mobile and internet. This is reflected in the variety of styling in accessories available. More fashion brands now include mobile accessories in their seasonal collections. We have launched an exclusive range of designer-branded accessories through our partnership with CG Mobile.
How has the accessories market changed over the last five years?
The protection category has grown significantly over the last five years due to the increased value of the devices. Styling has changed too as the device and its accessories are seen as an extension of lifestyle and a personal statement. People spend most time online on a mobile device, on average 2.5 hours a day. So we are seeing many more solutions in power than we did five years ago to keep up with these demands.
What sort of investment do you have to make in R&D?
Up until recently, Genuine has been investing in infrastructure and information systems to improve the services we provide and aid our decision making. However, this is changing as we evolve our business from being a distributor to a broader remit by entering into exciting new partnerships. We have enjoyed growth in our business and this is enabling us to now diversify and create whole new propositions. It is too early to share these details but we have an exciting 2019 ahead which we hope will be a game changer.
What segment will lead the accessories market and why?
In the short term, it will be power because of the extended mobile reliance and internet usage on mobile. Longer-term, ethical technology products will become more important and it is a vision we have at Genuine for the future. Nevertheless, we will continue to support our customers’ demands whether current or future trends.
To read Purchasing Director Bav Majithia‘s comments in the full Mobile News Spotlight feature click here.