While the smartphone market is being dominated by the likes of Samsung, Apple, and BBK Electronics, there has been one brand that has been working tirelessly to make a name for itself in the smartphone accessories market. And this brand is none other than Anker. Now, you might be thinking, who is Anker? And why does that name sound so familiar? Well, Anker is one of the leading smartphone accessory brands in the entire world. According to Statista, Anker Innovation Technology is the leading brand in wireless charging as they generated a revenue of $1 billion as of May 2022. The brand that came second was Belkin, which had a revenue of $645 million. From this data, it is as clear as day that Anker is not only leading in the wireless charging industry but absolutely dominating it too. There are several sub-brands under the Anker Innovations Technology umbrella which include the likes of Anker, Soundcore, Eufy, and Nebula. These brands make a number of different products. Anker is the primary manufacturer of chargers, power banks, charging cables, etc. Whereas Soundcore makes headphones, earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, and other music-related products. What’s more is that Anker is diversifying its portfolio through Nebula, which is a company that produces portable home theater projectors. Eufy, on the other hand, makes innovative smart-home devices like automated vacuum machines, doorbells, dog cameras, floodlights, security cams, and much more, which may come as a surprise to most people who have no idea that the company manufactures these kinds of products as well. Anker is also the parent company of Roav, the makers of innovative in-car products, as well as Bolder, which is a premium flashlight brand. The company also used to be the parent company of Zolo and KARAPAX. Unfortunately, those sub-brands have become defunct. In summary, each brand under Anker focuses on a particular kind of technology and tries to innovate on it.
A Brief History of Anker
Steven Yang, a former senior engineer at Google, is the founder of Anker Innovations Technology. The company was founded in 2011 in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China. Later, the company moved its headquarters to Changsha, Hunan Province of China. The company initially started out as a manufacturer of laptop batteries. But it then later expanded its operations to producing portable chargers and power cables. Steven Yang had a very interesting marketing strategy for his products. He would scour through Amazon’s e-commerce platform to see thousands of reviews and complaints about different electronic products every day. Yang then realized that he could start making devices like power banks and smartphone chargers that address the several issues people usually complain about online. Equipped with that knowledge and $1 million in seed capital, Steven Yang began his journey with Anker.
What Led to the Success of Anker?
Have you ever had to replace the charging cable of your iPhone or had to buy a new fast-charger for your brand new Samsung flagship smartphone? If you did, then it is likely that you ran into two very specific scenarios. The first scenario is – you walk into Samsung or Apple store to find a charger for your device, and then slowly walk back out after you realize how ridiculous the price of these accessories is. Or the next scenario is – you go to one of the many popular e-commerce sites to look for a charger but then groan as you realize that most of these Chinese products not only look terrible but are also likely to suck. This is exactly the realization that Steven Yang had when he was trying to buy a new laptop battery for his wife. With this in mind, Yang wanted to do something different. He wanted to manufacture reasonably priced electronic device accessories that didn’t cut back on quality. Yang started his venture by selling his products on Amazon because he knew that good reviews, a solid search ranking, and low prices could quickly lead to success. And that is what happened. Anker’s high quality and low price set the brand apart from the rest. It wasn’t like Anker was making out-of-the-world products that are bound to get 5 out of 5 stars every time. Rather, they focused solely on providing their customers with the best value possible for the amount of money they would spend. Compared to 10 years ago, smartphones nowadays have become much thinner. However, this has led to one very big issue – battery life. And the main culprit behind this is the technology that is used in lithium-ion batteries. Because of certain constraints that go beyond the scope of this article, lithium-ion batteries can only store a certain amount of energy as per the size of the cell. In simpler terms, the slimmer a smartphone gets, the less charge it is likely to hold. And that can be seen with modern phones. Even the most premium smartphone in the market struggles to retain its battery life for a full day. Although there can be an argument made that lithium-ion technology has also advanced quite far, even so, it’s very hard to find a phone that can last for more than a day or two. Anker recognized this problem early on which led to the company being where they are today. Think about it for yourself. Would you rather constantly have to worry about how much charge your phone has before it completely shuts off, or would you instead have a small portable power brick with you that you can easily use to charge your phones and other electronic devices? If you chose the second option, then you can understand why Anker is as popular as it is.
In 2015, Anker released the PowerPort 5 which is a rectangular USB hub with five ports so that users can charge five devices at once. At the time it was the only accessory in the market that was capable of such a feat. Another example of Anker’s innovative thinking is its PowerCore portable charger which has a battery capacity of 10,000mAh! Furthermore, the company’s PowerIQ technology allows their portable chargers to recognize whether the user is charging an iPhone, iPad, Google Pixel, etc. so that the charger provides the most optimized power delivery to the device. However, just features alone are not enough for a brand to stand out in such a saturated market. Anker knew that they had to also focus on design and packaging to stand out from the crowd. From their iconic white and light-blue box to their braided nylon red cables, Anker wants its customers to know that the products they receive are coming from a trustworthy company. In essence, the success of Anker comes from the hubris of the smartphone giants. The excessive premium that companies like Apple charge for their accessories gave room for Anker to thrive. Anker has been very smart in capitalizing on market gaps left by these smartphone manufacturers. For instance, when high-profile smartphone brands decided to ditch the headphone jack on their flagship phones, it gave Anker the opportunity to quickly capture the accessory market by providing its customers with dongles and cable adaptors for their phones. That’s why if you go on to Amazon.com and search for something like “portable chargers”, you will find that Anker products have taken up the first five slots with an average rating of 4.5 to 5 stars on all their products. And that is not all, Anker still meticulously goes through every review left by users on its products to look for further gaps that they can fulfill through their development process.
How Anker Is Maintaining First Place?
The biggest contributing factor to Anker’s sustained dominance in the smartphone accessory market is that they know what to do and what not to do. They know they are not capable of expanding their operations to become a full-fledged smartphone manufacturer as there are already way too many big players. The biggest challenge for Anker is not sales figures, rather it’s customer perception. When someone buys an iPhone, that person knows that they will need to buy Apple products for their phone. Anker is trying to break that perception by convincing customers that there are superior products at a fraction of the cost. And that is the core principle in all of their ventures, whether it’s with Nebula’s portable projectors or Soundcore’s speakers and headphones. All in all, it can be said without a doubt that Anker’s strategy and approach have definitely paid off tenfold.