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Harvey Norman Chasing Smartphone Brands As Market Tanks TCL Deal Tipped

Harvey Norman who is looking to expand their mobile phone offering in a head on battle with archival JB Hi Fi, is believed to have secured several additional brands including TCL who are set to roll out a new range of smartphone including a sub $500 TCL device that is set to be launched shortly.

Late last year Harvey Norman hired former Huawei executive Damien Zarb, who in his new Business Development role has been engaging with brands, in particular Chinese brands that are desperate to get ranging as consumers turn off Chinese branded products due to tariffs and restrictions put on Australian products.

Zarb is also a former National Account Manager at Vodafone he also worked with Brightstar a key partner of JBHiFi.

ChannelNews has been told that brands such as Oppo, Realme and Vivo whose smartphones were recently banned due to the risk of catching fire have been slashing margins in an effort to drive sales after research revealed that sales of smartphones in Asia Pacific have fallen by as much as 20%.

The ban on Vivo devices were initiated after Cargo pallets containing Vivo smartphones caught fire at Hong Kong airport.

After this incident, a major cargo airline believed to be DHL has reportedly announced a ban on Vivo phones.

Vivo has confirmed that it is investigating the cause of the fire. “We noticed that a shipment of goods, some of which were Vivo products, got burned on the parking apron of Hong Kong International Airport on April 11,” Android Authority quoted the company as saying.

Harvey Norman is a key partner of Optus while JB Hi Fi is a partner of Telstra.

Currently Telstra is looking to renegotiate their commission contract with JB Hi Fi with a possibility emerging that JB Hi Fi could do what Best Buy have done in the USA and open up their smartphone attachment sales to all carriers with consumers given the choice of connecting to a carrier of their choice.

New GFK data reveals that smartphones have become a victim of COVID-19 with sales falling 20% in the Asia Pacific region.

“The region’s smartphone market was hardest hit in the second quarter when many countries here entered lockdown mode. This was also when we started observing new trends emerging and the corresponding shifts in consumer demand for durable goods,” highlighted Alexander Dehmel, Market Insights Lead APAC at GfK. “Based on the broad range of categories that GfK tracks, consumers started purchasing more products that support @home requirements (work, cook, entertainment), moving away from mobility-related gadgets such as smartphones and wearable devices.”


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