Launching a Premium Product in a (Temporarily) Declining Market: A Bold or Foolish Move of a Corporation?


Indonesia apparently is losing a bit of its mojo. I cannot say anything else to elaborate how much this emerging market needs to work harder on its economic foundations. You can go to Google and find it using keywords such as “Indonesian market outlook Q2 2013″ or ” Indonesia economy 2013″. Chances are you’ll discover much information related to it in a single click.
Recently I interviewed a Singaporean business leader, who said that Indonesia still offers a lot of opportunities to foreign brands like his. The brand is a premium headphone not everyone can afford. With more than US$200 price tag, average Indonesian consumers need to think a lot before making up their mind as to getting the idea of prurchasing the pricey yet lovely, high quality headphone or ditching it.
When asked about the sales number, he politely refused to share it with the journalists, only stating,”Thanks to the support of the Indonesian market..the customers, we have been named the most popular headphone brand.”
He stated how much support the company has received from the existing consumers here, which I believe is a very very segmented group of consumers.
A friend from Xinhua asked how the launch would actually help the products get sold more and more considering the fact that the Indonesian market recently is not in its best shape.
Stuttering before answering, the interviewee reasoned,”I think our brand’s strength is the quality, so …. it IS even more positive. If the rest of the market is not so positive, people start thinking, ‘Should I invest in something so-so or should I conserve my money so I can get something with quality that can last that bring me the most value?’ That is very congruent to our brand’s philosophy to design and manufacture and bring to market value products at any price points. So I believe our brand in fact even in difficult economic situation may stand to win in the market.”
With 240 million people in the country, Indonesia still proves to be a very promising market to launch a product. Consumption is relatively high and seems to be on the rise for the years to come.
Looking at Indonesia from the consumer taste, he added that there are people who love music a lot here and they don’t feel quite reluctant to spend a few million rupiahs from their seemingly bottomless accounts to enjoy music reproduced in very high quality sound.
I cannot say he is absolutely right about this. It is his hypothesis on Indonesian market so far. And let’s see whether his hypothesis turns right, wrong, half wrong or half right. Only time can tell. But I am, to be blunt, convinced by his strong belief of delivering the best quality products to consumers so I wish him best luck. If I were to buy quality experience of enjoying music through headphones, I’d absolutely pick this Germany brand. A bunch of thanks to Ng Chee Soon of Sennheiser Asia for the interview. Oops!

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