We are delighted to feature a post today from Dave Floyd, Co-CEO of Bullitt Group.
Bullitt Group designs, manufactures, markets and sells mobile phones and consumer electronics in partnership with global brands such as Caterpillar and Kodak.
I think it’s a great concept and can see how folk will want to align themselves with a brand that suits their lifestyle. I’d be really interested to take a look at a handset. I’ll try and arrange that… but for now, let’s hear from Dave…
Consumers will always want greater choice – a phone that’s rugged and impossible to break, a watch that stores all your phone’s data, saving you from reaching into your pocket. And, in the future, perhaps one with sensors that monitor your blood sugar level, or exposure to environmental pollution.
Bullitt Group prides itself on high-quality products that serve a specific market – for example, if you work outdoors or are into outdoor sports, we have made a series of rugged phones that are drop-proof to 1.8 metres, dustproof, scratchproof, and waterproof. In a tough market we are making a profit – many are not.
The reason for this is partly what we feel will drive the future of mobile phones – phones that add value to everyday life by tapping into a currently unserved market. In ten years’ time, a shop selling mobile phones will offer a wide variety of lifestyle brands (rather than tech brands) to choose from – many more than today’s choice. More and more brands will corner niches like Bullitt Group has for Caterpillar with a range of rugged phones.
Apple’s profit dominance today is a result of the brand loyalty they have from millions around the world. Consumers will no longer want their phone to be generic, they’ll want to identify with a brand, be it fashion, music or sport. This will mean niche consumer groups will start to get a phone which is more individualised to them in look, sound quality, hardiness or sensory capability.
The challenge for Apple will be to keep up the innovation – this sort of loyalty never lasts forever. The App store is fundamental to their on-going success, and, no doubt, software developers will continue to innovate this mobile ecosystem. With products such as Apple Pay, allowing iPhone users to pay by phone, it’s hard to foresee a dwindling to their market dominance.
In July, China’s Huawei overtook Microsoft to become the third largest mobile phone seller for the first time – capturing a record seven per cent of the worldwide market share. There is a whole part of the mobile landscape opening up in countries such as China and India and these are doing exactly this: directly serving customers’ needs.
While wearables and the Apple watch have opened up the way in which mobile phone data can be used, without the phone it is little more than a paperweight. Their primary use is convenience – to save the consumer having to reach into their pocket to read the data.
What will add value to phones of the future is the software strategy. At the moment wearables are something of a fad and in their current guise, looking at facts and statistics, after a while, can become a bit of a drag.
It is possible the market will see the resurgence of market segmentation, meaning developers could pick out sections of the population, develop a particular product and then market that product specifically to that segment. This is what Bullitt Group does – we are helping companies such as Kodak and Caterpillar design these customised products.
At the smaller end of the market there may be some exciting changes – and these will continue to grow and offer up more opportunities for big players to target specific audiences, providing a phone to meet the consumer’s lifestyle needs.