Bullitt Group claims it is ‘one of the few manufacturers that is making money’.
The company’s turnover has doubled year on year since its foundation in 2009, and is projected to double again in 2015. Co-CEO David Floyd (pictured) explained to Mobile that its success is due to a niche market focus: ‘Most manufacturers take a phone to someone and say “why don’t we put our brand name on this?”.
'We do things completely differently; we design the phone from the brand up. That’s why we believe our business model is absolutely right, the big brands won’t follow us into this market.’
Floyd said that in terms of branding, there is not much differentiation between manufacturers, claiming that the market is moving towards a change.
He added: ‘The technology has slowed down so much on mobile phones. Why are people choosing phones now? It’s more to do with look and feel, and less to do with the brand. With the Samsung Edge, the glass around the edge serves no purpose other than differentiating it. It’s no longer a tech play.
‘Smartphones are either iOS or Android, 5-inch screens and either black or white. It’s much more exciting when a phone is waterproof or rugged or has different applications to suit you. We see the market being so different in five years’ time.
‘People don’t buy for the tech, they buy for the brand. The best example is Apple – does the iPhone 6 have the best tech? Is it the slimmest phone? No, but it has a fantastic brand that people buy in to. And that is really all you need, that’s where things are going.
Floyd believes that is difficult to make money in the saturated horizontal market. Nokia recently announced that it will be expanding its brand licensing model, but Floyd said the Finnish brand will look to compete in the general smartphone market, which he claims is already overcrowded.
He said: ‘What Nokia is trying to do is go after the same horizontal market that it always has done, it is just changing its model. It will just come out with phones to target the general consumer and it really won’t change them that much from where they were three years ago.
'The mobile market is dividing into Samsung and Apple – then you’ve got everyone else squabbling over 15% of the market, and Nokia will join them.
‘We look at a niche vertical that none of the big brands will focus on. Everyone is trying to go horizontal but vertical is best if you want to make money in a really overcrowded industry.
‘We’ll never do the same volumes as Nokia and Moto but we don’t want to because we don’t want to be mass market. Our growth strategy is to think about what other verticals in the phone market we wish to attack.’
Floyd said the next move for the company will be to create smartphones for female customers. He described the demographic as one that is ‘absolutely underserved’ by the big-name telcos, claiming that Bullitt will look to ‘drive a pathway’ into this market.
Bullitt has previously launched audio products for Ted Baker, and more recently developed its rugged and durable Cat smartphone range with the launch of the Cat S40 smartphone.
Floyd said: ‘One vertical we’re looking to move into is the female market, we think the big guys absolutely underserve around female users. What have the big brands done for a female customer, other than white or pink smartphones?
‘That’s our next market and we’re talking to brands that we think will resonate with female customers. We can go high end or we can go mass market. The biggest discussion is which age demographic shall we target with a female-oriented phone? That’s the biggest challenge.’
He concluded: ‘Endless companies have tried to enter the market and have been unsuccessful. There’s always going to be followers to come in, and our job is to make sure we stay ahead and keep driving that market. I’m sure people will follow our brand licensing model – why wouldn’t they when they look at our financials?’