HTC is hoping that its largest ever marketing budget will increase its UK market share to ‘double digits’ as it plots its 2014 comeback, Mobile can exclusively reveal.
The Taiwanese manufacturer found the going tough in 2013 with falling market share and profits combined with distribution problems with its flagship One smartphone, but president of EMEA Phil Blair and MD of UK and Nordics Peter Frolund told Mobile better marketing, a more robust portfolio and discipline would make for a positive coming 12 months.
Blair confirmed HTC’s marketing budget was ‘a bigger budget than we’ve ever had’ and Frolund added: ‘We can’t confirm a specific number, but one of the important things is our relationship with UEFA. A lot of people are watching football, and people watching the Champions League will be noticing HTC, so that has huge value. Then we have more activities coming up in 2014.’
The two executives are looking for ‘double-digit market share’ by the end of the year, although Blair added that he thought ‘2014 will be an important and testing year from an industry perspective’. He also confirmed HTC is not up for sale and would hunt for market share alone.
He told Mobile: ‘We’re going for this alone. We’re not up for sale, but we pride ourselves on our collaborations with Microsoft, Google and our partners. We’re a collaborative player in the industry.’
2013 saw several executive leave the smartphone maker’s UK operations as Tej Dosanjh, Oliver Schulte, Sarah Mansell, Gaelle Walton and Mike Coombes all exited, but Blair said HTC was ‘close to having a full team’, while Frolund added that new additions would be added in the next few weeks.
Frolund said: ‘Apart from one row we are complete. The last ones will be joining us this week and the week after. Is it business as usual? No, because we have plans to change things from 2014. I hope you will soon see a change in how we’re being perceived in the UK market.’
Blair added: ‘It’s not only the biggest team in Europe but the biggest team we’ve ever had in the UK.’
The pair also added that HTC had been ‘ramping up sales and marketing’, and started to work closer with partners.
Commenting on Samsung’s partnerships with Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u, Frolund said ‘you can give customers a branded experience in different ways’, and hinted that HTC’s retail strategy my change by ‘doing things in very bespoke ways at some point in the future’.