is Xiaomi insecure with Realme Success in India?
In recent time we have seen a sudden change in the sub-Rs 15,000 price segment for smartphones in India. We have nearly two smartphones launching at the same price segment every month. The market share of Chinese brands in the Indian smartphone market reached a record 66 percent during Q1, 2019, according to a report. Volumes for the Chinese brands grew 20 percent year-on-year (YoY)
Realme has become the fastest brand to sell 6 million units since its entry in May last year. In contrast, on-year growth for Xiaomi, also from China, slowed in the first quarter of 2019. Both the players are locked in a battle to corner a major share of the Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 price segment, which contributes to one-third of the overall smartphone volumes in India, according to Counterpoint.
Realme, which began its operations as a sub-brand for Oppo in 2018, now functions independently. And in less than a year, it has managed to corner 7% market share to become the fourth largest brand in the January-March quarter, as per Counterpoint. Xiaomi lost share but was still the largest with a 29% market share.
“Realme gained momentum by launching some industry first devices and being aggressive in terms of their message delivery across online platforms,” Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, said.
Prabhu Ram, head – industry intelligence group at CMR, said that mastering the Xiaomi playbook and timing their smartphone launches well have also been instrumental in Realme’s success.
“It is prudent that Xiaomi, as the market leader, is aware and wary of Realme’s growth. As Realme starts expanding its offline reach in 2019, Xiaomi would have to redraw its market strategies to stay on top,” he said.
Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth has hit out at bigger rival Xiaomi, saying India’s top smartphone maker is “insecure” about the relative newcomer’s success.
Sheth was reacting to Xiaomi India head Manu Jain’s recent tweets, claiming that his company’s new device — Xiaomi’s Note 7 Pro — was better than Realme’s Pro 3 which was being launched. Seth had then tweeted, “someone is afraid” of its upcoming smartphone.
Sheth also criticized Xiaomi’s offline model, saying it wasn’t sustainable as it doesn’t leverage traditional mobile phone retailers but seeks to introduce new ones who don’t have any experience.
“I believe you are hurting the sentiments of all the (traditional handset) retailers, especially small ones, and trying to take away business. And, you are opening up a wholesale point which is giving semi distribution to retailers.”
He said that Xiaomi may be taking this approach to reduce cost of sales.
“…but, I still believe that cost is not the only factor you need to see. You also need to see what are the sentiments of people. Sometimes, relationship matters rather than twenty basis points. In India, business is more of about emotion and personal connection,” Sheth explained.
Both Xiaomi and Realme are trying to aggressively to expand their brick-and-mortar, or offline, channels to grow market share, having started as online-only companies.
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