I have been following the news out of Nokia World and have been asking myself why people buy Nokia. My previous criticisms of the Nokia/Microsoft tie-up have been based more on a technical/developer/UI viewpoint. However, most people aren’t like me. What makes people buy Nokia phones?
Firstly, there is actually a technical aspect. For example, people who want a great camera might choose a Nokia. However I suspect such people are in the minority and could be classed at geeks and/or early adopters.
A larger group of users comes from Nokia phones being pushed by network operators. Will network operators want to promote Windows Phone more than say iOS and Android? It’s hard to say. Most operators have already dropped Nokia S60 so it will now be more difficult to get them re-engaged.
Linked to network operators are upgrades. In many countries users get pushed new phones at the end of a fixed term tariff so as to keep customer loyalty. Many Nokia S60 phones were distributed this way with most users not even knowing their new phone was a smartphone. Related to this is the end-user perception that if they select a phone from the same brand it will work in the same way and they won’t have to learn new stuff. Nokia Windows Phone will get some converts this way even if the people end up surprised at what they receive.
People also buy Nokia because of the brand. It’s trusted and actually has some credibility as a fashionable item (ok, not so much as Apple but definitely more than many Android brands). Nokia will definitely get a few sales this way. However, there’s evidence that brand is becoming less important and people are chosing a phone based on the OS.
The final possibility is marketing. Microsoft will invest a huge amount of money in marketing via its OEMs. This has the possibility to cause a consumer led push for Windows Phone rather than an operator initiated pull. However, will this have any affect on a market that is already awash with iOS and Android and a mass market of consumers that are going through global financial hard times? Again, it’s difficult to say.