Xiaomi and OnePlus need to formal introduction in India. They’ve essentially become as popular as some of the bigger brands, despite having essentially very limited retail presence across the country. We’ve hardly come across any adverstisement from these two brands either in newspapers, on billboards, or television, yet they’re popular even in large cities and among the working population.
So how did these two Chinese brands manage to steal the attention of Indian masses when many others have failed trying? By some very clever strategies of course. Both the brands started out in India with a limited availability for their products. While Xiaomi offered its products in only limited flash sales, OnePlus offered its phone only to consumers who had an invite. In the process, they managed to convince the Indian user base that these brands aren’t just more of cheap stuff from China being dumped into India, but are a class apart that isn’t just for anybody. By selling in limited quantity, they actually created an impression of being sophisticated, which many other brands from the country aren’t considered.
Of course, you can only ship a limited number of units when they aren’t available easily and you also risk frustrating the customers, but there’s a long term goal here. By adopting this strategy, the brands have managed to create a value around them, which is enjoyed by only a few manufacturers. And once people show you respect, you open the floodgates. As such, we can see both the brands offering their phones online without any invite or flash sale. The hard work is done and it’s time to reap the rewards.
Xiaomi and OnePlus, both are riding on the success of the booming Indian e-commerce sector. Both the players offer their products exclusively on shopping websites like Flipkart and Amazon and haven’t had a presence in physical stores till now. So does this help their cause? In a way, yes. Often being exclusive to either of these websites, they’ve managed to convince the marketing teams of Flipkart and Amazon that these brands are the jewel of their inventories and need to be shown as their USPs. In return, both Xiaomi and OnePlus have enjoyed some heavy advertisement from the websites.
Then of course, both the brands have offered unimaginable specs are dirt cheap prices. If Motorola changed the rules of the game in India with the Moto G and the Moto E, Xiaomi and OnePlus just changed the entire game. Just forget everything else if you’re looking for the best specs in the price points that they compete. Of course, others have taken note and are offering similar specs at better prices (ASUS for one), but not one of them enjoy the same popularity as these two.
Well, that’s for the success part, but what makes these two brands different? It has to be the way these two brands project themselves in the market. Xiaomi started its journey in India with the Mi3, selling it for sub $250 price. This was followed by Redmi, Note 4G and others. In essence, before the Mi4, all of Xiaomi’s offerings catered budget consious buyers, who were looking for top of the line specs for dirt cheap prices. Xiaomi has never perhaps showed itself as a premium manufacturer. Instead, it’s offerings are those which offer best bang for the buck. It’s phones are those that attract people looking for a cheap phone that isn’t necessarily awful. In essence, it’s not much different from the likes of Micromax or other Indian manufacturers if you come to think of it.
OnePlus on the other hand, showcases itself as a premium phone seller. OnePlus One has everything to be called a premium phone, and no it’s not cheap (by Indian expectations) but is just being sold for very little margins. By not having a low cost phone in the market, OnePlus projects itself as a seller of a premium product that’s not for everybody. And it’s phone’s design and material shouts the same philosophy.
While Xiaomi might be more successful in India, it is due to a number of other reasons (more devices on the shelf, earlier entry in the market, and Flipkart being bigger than Amazon India). Nonetheless, both the manufacturers have successfully built a brand for themselves and we do not doubt that they will continue to sell well in the near future as well.