Why can’t offerings of local brands have premium pricing?
As most of you know, Starmobile unveiled their newest smartphone a few days ago, the Octa. The Octa is Starmobile’s most feature packed smartphone to date, and understandably it had a high price tag compared to Starmobile’s other product offerings. While many liked the product overall, a large number of people reacted negatively to the Php 16,990 price of the device, calling it overpriced, and priced too high for a local brand.
Writing as someone who has covered the technology beat for a long, long time, I honestly don’t understand why many are complaining about the price of the Octa. Considering what you’re getting (not to mention the very handsome design) the Php 16,990 that Starmobile is asking for the device is more than fair. Unfortunately, many have said that the price goes far beyond what a local brand should ask for.
Therein lies the rub. It’s unfortunate that people think that local brands shouldn’t ask for premium prices for their products. As someone who has seen many, many products offered by both local and international brands, I can honestly say that local brands have as much right to ask for premium pricing for their offerings as much as international brands as long as the value is there. Does the Octa deserve the Php 16,990 price point? Absolutely. Comparing the Octa side-by-side with a device from a well known brand, the Galaxy S4, the Octa matches the specs of the S4 point by point. It has roughly the same performance, same screen size, same resolution and the same memory. The only thing that the S4 has over the Octa is an LTE modem, though the Octa makes up for that with wireless charging capability. Let’s not forget that all of this comes at close to half of the price that the Galaxy S4 originally came with when it was released. I don’t want to sound like I’m defending Starmobile (I’m not), I’m just trying to underline the fact that if the hardware, and more importantly, value, is there then local brands like Cherry Mobile, Starmobile and MyPhone have every right to price their products at a premium.
What people have to understand is that local brands are quickly evolving, from only offering ultra affordable smartphones a few years ago, to brands that have a whole range of products and solutions for every price point, from 2K and below, all the way up to 17K. We’ve been seeing a lot of that at the start of the year – several octa-core offerings from local brands and companies have broken the 13K threshold as far as pricing is concerned, and that’s just going to continue as the year drags on. You will see more and more products from local brands that will carry more expensive, premium pricing, and that’s ok in my opinion. Pinoys need to get over the fact that local brands only offer cheap, affordable smartphones, and embrace the idea of local brands offering value for money smartphones at higher, more premium pricepoints.