© Journal du Geek
A meeting was made in Berlin, for IFA 2023. In a room adjoining the brand's giant stand, Tony Ran, President Europe of Honor, is waiting for us. All smiles, visibly relaxed, he welcomes us with a coffee and a beautiful story to tell us.
This story is that of the return of Honor, a smartphone brand formerly owned by Huawei, which became independent 3 years ago. An independence of which President Europe seems very proud. Asked about possible links with its former parent company, he assures that Honor has been 100% independent since 2020, that the company has “rebuilt everything from scratch” em> (from a blank page).
By digging a little with other representatives of the brand (in particular on the similarities between the Honor V Purse and the Huawei Mate projects planned for years.
“There will certainly still be similarities on certain products because R&D is working on five-year projects” tells us a brand framework. A crystal clear explanation which removes all doubts as to a hidden link between the two companies. Huawei is Huawei, Honor is Honor.
Building the foundations
To conquer Europe, Honor has established a clear plan of attack: first, build the foundations.Previously perceived as a brand offering phones with good value for money, Honor now wants to establish itself in the premium market, even if it means facing big names like Samsung or Apple. With Huawei, OPPO and others no longer there, there is market share to be taken.
In a market where sales volume is in sharp decline (-14% in 2022 according to IDC ), the brand therefore seeks to give value to its products. Not only does this make it possible to offer a great user experience (and therefore build customer loyalty) but also to generate margins with lower sales volumes.
Market share is not our main criterion at the moment – Tony Ran, Honor Europe President –
To deliver this value, Honor aims to provide a seamless, premium experience before, during and after purchase. For this, the brand relies on its partners. “If the partners have trust, there is no reason why it shouldn’t work” Tony Ran tells us. Aware that moving into a conservative market like Europe, Honor's President Europe emphasizes the importance of building good foundations. “Market share is not our main criterion at the moment” he explains.
However, the company has much to be proud of. In France, in just three years, Honor has gained up to 15% market share with certain partners.Present only at SFR and Fnac-Darty for its return, the brand is now present at all operators and resellers. It even recorded growth of more than 100% in the 3,200 points of sale where it is present.
Among its flagship models, the Magic 5 Pro recorded growth of 100% compared to its predecessor. The Honor 90, a mid-range model, has seen growth of 300% compared to its predecessor in just 3 months. In July 2023, Honor even climbed into the Top 4 of smartphone sales in France, behind Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi.
Above all, in just three years, Honor represents 7% market share among certain operators. “Proof that the strategy of healthy growth works” tells us the marketing director of Honor France.
If France is one of the countries carrying the brand ( its first market in Europe), Honor's objective is to make the Old Continent its “second home market”, after China. In 2022, Honor recorded growth of 400% in the United States and 200% in Europe.
Focus on innovation
To convince consumers, the brand's strategy is based on the famous user experience. To improve it, we must innovate. At IFA in Berlin, Honor brought out the heavy artillery by unveiling the Honor Magic V2, the most advanced folding smartphone to date. As light and bulky as an iPhone 14 Pro Max when folded, it opens like a booklet to become a tablet.
In China, 50% of Honor Magic V2 buyers had an iPhone. – Tony Ran, President Europe Honor –
The Honor Magic V2 corrects all the obstacles to purchasing a folding smartphone. It is light, fits easily into a pocket and promises good battery life. To create such a product, Honor had to integrate a titanium hinge (same material as the latest iPhone 15) which required years of research and development. The battery that powers this beautiful baby, as thick as a credit card, is unique in the world.
Why the choice of folding? “We think it will be in everyone's hands in the future” predicts Tony Ran. And add:
The weight, the bulk, the invisible fold, the ecosystem: all these pain points (disincentives to purchase) are eliminated with the Honor Magic V2.
The figures confirm the said by Honor’s European President. According to Counterpoint, 8% of premium smartphones today are folding. The firm forecasts a share of 30% by 2027.
From there to replacing an iPhone with a folding model? There is no doubt about this for Tony Ran. “In China, 50% of Honor Magic V2 buyers had an iPhone” he confides. France is the country in Europe where folding smartphones sell best, ahead of Great Britain and Germany.
What’s next? Continue to innovate, stabilize the foundations and strengthen partnerships with operators and distributors. Slowly but surely, the Chinese manufacturer is making its nest on the Old Continent. “Step by step” insists President Europe. It’s all to his Honor.