Nokia: lessons on competing in emerging markets

Posted in brands, business, design, digital, emerging issues, Nokia, technology by thenextwavefutures on 4 June, 2007

The Core 77 design blog has a good piece on how Nokia has been competing successfully in emerging markets. The Nokia 1100 – launched in 2003 – has now racked up 200m sales. (The iPod is running at 100m).

Nokia 1100

They pull out three reasons:

  1. the ‘law’ of big numbers: the margins may be low, but that doesn’t matter so much when you get single orders worth $2.5bln (yes, billion), as they have from China
  2. Design it for the market you’re selling it to. Good phone sharing features may be more useful than megapixels. Having a design studio in Bangalore probably helps.
  3. Get the marketing right. Nokia has been going on the road (and the tracks) in branded vans and even railway carriages to talk to potential customers when and where they have time to talk.

If the Core 77 piece is right, Nokia seem to have been quick to learn the ‘bottom of the pyramid‘ lessons articulated by CK Prahalad.

Related post: Nokia and the ‘eco-sensor’ phone


4 Responses

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  1. Tak said, on 5 April, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Sure, everyone praises Nokia for their marketing and product design. The kind of “soft” side of the story. But to me, Nokia’s strength is in good engineering. Their phones are really reliable, both in terms of software and hardware. This is a side of the product that’s not obvious at the shopfront but it’s key in building up a reputation.

    For example, I started off with a dead-solid Nokia, then a Motorola that suffered a faulty power management unit after a year, two Sony-Ericssons that had software and hardware issues towards the end of the year. The designs may not be the best, but I’ve since gone back to Nokia. I’ve had two over the last 3 years and they’ve been dead reliable.

    So Nokia has really captured me as a loyal customer because of good engineering. With mobile phone contracts being sold for two-year periods, reliability of the handsets through good engineering is going to become more important.

  2. thenextwavefutures said, on 5 April, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Tak, Thanks for the comment. I’d add to their engineering strengths the user-interface design, which I would argue is related to the engineering. I’m a Nokia user because the interface is consistent and makes sense, unlike my brief experience of using phones from other makers.

  3. Vijay said, on 21 September, 2008 at 7:31 am


    The user interface in Nokia is really awesome. Over 200 million Nokia 1100 cellphones have been sold since its launch in late 2003, making it the world’s best selling phone handset,[1] as well as the best selling consumer electronics device in the world, beating Sony’s Playstation 2 (125 million), Apple Inc.’s iPod (170 million), Motorola’s RAZR (100 million), and LG’s Chocolate (10 million)

    My question is why NOKIA stopping most of the largest selling model?

  4. abdu said, on 8 January, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    quiero comrar nokia 1100 gracias

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