KATHMANDU, Dec 31: The introduction of wide range of Android smartphones and consumer electronics with advanced technology and newer applications amid falling prices helped mobile and electronics dealers enjoy exponential growth in 2012.
The domestic market was flooded with cell phones powered by Android operating system in the year 2012. Besides the global brands like Nokia, Samsung, LG and HTC, Indian manufacturers too launched Android phones during the year.
“The year belonged to Android smartphones. Advanced features and interesting applications made these devices stand as an alternative to computers,” said Geeta Neupane, marketing manager of Teletalk - the authorized distributor of Indian cellphone brands like Colors, Spice and Blackberry in Nepal.
According to dealers, that popularity of Android phones was mainly due to user-friendly functionality, open source nature which allows designers to develop applications and distribute freely on web, availability of numerous applications and multi-tasking functions, among others.
“The Android operating system is becoming popular in urban and semi-urban areas. This forced almost all the manufactures to focus on Android-powered phones,” Deepak Malhotra, chairman of International Marketing Services - the authorized distributor of Samsung phones in Nepal, said. “The sales of Samsung smartphones in 2012 were up seven times compared to sales figures of 2011.”
Samsung introduced Galaxy Note I and II and Galaxy S II and S III in 2012. Similarly, Nokia introduced three phones in its Asha series - 311, 302 and 308. It also introduced Nokia 808 Pureview and Nokia 500 during the year. Similarly, South Korean electronics giant LG introduced Optimus L3, L3 Dual, L5, L7 and 4x, while Teletalk launched BlackBerry Torch 9810, Curve 9360 and 9380 and Bold 9790 and X Factor Mini, X Factor and X Factor Plus.
Though smartphones ruled the roost, distributors also continued to offer feature phones supporting better music experience, high quality pictures, 3D mobile application and enhanced movie experience through HDMI technology at affordable prices.
Dealers also introduced new models of other consumer electronics during the year. CG Electronics, which represents LG in Nepal, introduced LG refrigerators with ´Door-in-Door´ technology. Refrigerators with ´Door-in-Door´ technology have storage compartment in the door itself, allowing users to retrieve most commonly needed items without affecting the temperature of the main storage space.
Nepa Hima Trade Link -- the authorized dealer of Sony and Whirlpool -- introduced ´Ice Magic´ technology in Whirlpool refrigerators which allows the fastest cooling and up to 12 hours cooling back up features.
Him Electronics - the authorized distributor of Samsung home appliances -- introduced ´Cool Pack´ technology in single door refrigerators. This technology helps maintain temperature up to 4 hours even during power cuts.
“We introduced ´Inverter Technology´ in double door refrigerators. Refrigerators using inverter technology consume lower electricity, produce less noise and have longer compressor life,” said Binaya Tripathi, deputy general manager of Him Electronics.
Likewise, the company also introduced new range of ´Side by Side´ refrigerators in 2012.
Dealers representing leading electronics manufacturers changed people´s television viewing experience by introducing televisions sets with advanced features. LED and LCD televisions in 3D and TFT (Thin Film Transistor) variants produced by different brands entered the Nepali market in 2012.
Nepa Hima Trade Link introduced Sony Internet TV and 800 Hz motion flow technology in television during the year. CG Electronics introduced LG LED 3D cinema smart TV and world´s slimmest 3D Bezel TV, while Him Electronics introduced smart interactive TVs and flat panel TVs.
According to dealers, the year belonged to LED TVs as they nearly replaced LCD TVs. “Low power consumption, slim design, light weight, high contrast and longer life, among others are the major reasons behind growing popularity of LED TVs” said Binil Bajracharya, general manager of Nepa-Hima Trade Link.
Dealers also introduced washing machines with different features in 2012. LG introduced ´6 Motion Direct Drive´ technology that has a program to wash according to the type of the fabric. Similarly, Whirpool introduced ´6th Sense´ technology that automatically sets the time for washing depending on weight and fabric quality. Another leading consumer electronics brand, Samsung, introduced ´Eco Bubble´ technology that provides powerful cleaning solution by creating bubbles of foam. It is consumes less water and saves 70 percent energy, according to officials of Him Electronics.
“Despite lengthy power cuts, the demand for washing machines increased in winter this year as most of the companies introduced washing machine that operates automatically when there is power,” said Ramesh Shrestha, general manager- sales of CG Electronics.
Dealers of Samsung and Whirlpool also said 2012 was a very successfully year for them in terms of sales.