Fujitsu set to target overlooked mature market with phone launch

Mobile World Congress 2014: Fujitsu is planning a European launch of a new smartphone to target the often overlooked mature segment of the consumer market.

FujitsuSO1-Product-2014_460
Fujitsu is taking learnings from its SO1 handset (above) to target its new smartphone at the mature segment of the consumer market.

The Japanese electronics company is taking learnings from a similar phone, the SO1 which was launched in France with operator support from Orange in June, to create products designed for the “median age” of consumers in Europe: 45-years old. The device is also set to launch in the UK, although exact plans have not yet been confirmed.

Speaking to Marketing Week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, James Maynard, Fujitsu EMEA product marketing director, said the phone will not carry the usual features associated with devices for older consumers – such as big buttons – but will instead centre around “intuitive ease of use” that will encourage users who may have previously only been in the market for a voice plan to upgrade to a data plan, which should help it get operator support.

Maynard said: “Other devices in this market have the big buttons and so on which is very obvious in this segment…our device is not the type that shouts out ‘I’m old, I have an old person’s product’.”

He said that 80 per cent of French customers of the SO1 used the pre-loaded widget that features ported content with hyperlinks and pop-ups removed from content providers such as Reuters, which shows the potential of providing data access for this section of the market. While Maynard would not reveal sales figures he said the success of the device can be demonstrated by the fact that availability of the phone has increased from 100 to 250 stores.

In Fujitsu’s home market Japan, where it has been selling phones to this segment for 12 years, the company has shifted 20 million units, he said.

The new phone is likely to carry updated versions of SO1 features such as a “pre-touch” options that makes it easier for hesitant users not to accidentally open up tabs by lingering on the touchscreen and a feature that uses gaps in conversations to slow down the speed of voice calls.

Maynard said to cut through with the product Fujitsu will need to “spend more on marketing in the right places”, adding that the key to influencing this section of the market is “consistent repetition” in above the line advertising and then direct marketing to ensure consumers trial the product. Fujitsu will also be reliant on extensive partner marketing from operators and retailers to boost the brand’s profile.

Maynard said : “Nobody is doing this in the way we are in the mature market. Maturity is something different to being senior…our sales have been anyone from 40 to 82. These people are active, fashion conscious and understand trends and know what they like and know what the benefit is (of these devices) versus gimmicks.”

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