Xiaomi — the Chinese smartphone giant that started off as ‘yet another smartphone maker’ in the country, has now made its place among the top smartphone sellers in India. Its budget smartphones, like the Redmi Note 4 last year, and the Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro this year, have sold like hot cakes and it looks like Xiaomi can do no wrong. After all, the company has crossed Samsung to become the biggest smartphone seller in India just recently.

However, a few days back when I was looking through Flipkart and Amazon, compiling a list of the best phones in the budget price range, I noticed something that had so far slipped under my nose. The Redmi Note 5 Pro — a smartphone that was launched around 3-4 months back, is still on flash sales in India.

That got me thinking; is it really possible that Xiaomi has such an acute shortage of Redmi Note 5 Pro units that it still can’t hold open sales for it? Is this a marketing strategy to create hype around its phones? Most importantly, if this is working out so well for Xiaomi, could the company do even better if it let people buy its phones without having to break their mice clicking on the buy button during flash sales?

Xiaomi’s Hype Train Doesn’t Stop

The one thing that Xiaomi can always count on in the Indian market is the fact that the company’s phone launches always generate a lot of hype. Add to that the fact that they’re always launching budget smartphones with some pretty great specs, and you have the perfect recipe for selling phones the way Xiaomi does.

Then comes the fact that Xiaomi holds flash sales for its phones. Phones that are in such high demand that the company has had a history of crashing e-commerce portals such as Flipkart in the past. Clearly, people want to buy Xiaomi phones, and there’s no denying that the phones make a compelling case to buy them. We, at Beebom, also end up recommending Xiaomi phones a lot more than others; partly because they’re so good for their price, and partly because at one point in time, Xiaomi was the only company making good budget smartphones.

The Flash Sale Formula Might Backfire on Xiaomi Soon

Since the flash sale formula has worked out for Xiaomi so well in the past, I can see why they’re continuing with it even now. After all, why fix what isn’t broken; and what company wouldn’t want its sales day to generate so much hype that everyone is talking about it? However, what I think Xiaomi is yet to understand is the fact that ever since Xiaomi’s model took flight in India, other companies have also tried to gain traction in the budget market.

We Have Options Now… Lots of Them

In the past, Xiaomi’s phones used to be the only recommendable budget phones out there, but that’s not so true anymore. In fact, as of right now, there are a bunch of other phones that are equally good as any other Xiaomi phone in the market.

  • There’s the ZenFone Max Pro M1, which not only brings the exact same specs as the Redmi Note 5 Pro, but brings them at a price that’s Rs. 2,000 less than the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

9. Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1

  • There’s the Oppo Realme 1, which brings in 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage for the same price as the Mi A1, and actually Rs. 1,000 less than the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

  • There’s an entire lineup of smartphones from Honor, including the Honor 7X and the Honor 9 Lite that pack in some pretty great specs and are easily as good as any Xiaomi phone out there, both in terms of specs, and in terms of the design and build quality.

  • Then, of course, there’s Nokia with its Nokia 6 (2018), and the (rumor has it) upcoming Nokia X6… and remember, Nokia is a brand that, at one time, was India’s favorite, and given their way, it’ll be right back to the place it held in Indian hearts.

Today, if a consumer wants to buy a budget smartphone, they don’t just look at Xiaomi anymore. They look at Honor, they look at Oppo, the look at Asus, Vivo, and Nokia because all of these companies are paying a lot more attention to the budget price range now. Plus, most of these companies don’t hold flash sales for their smartphones.

Xiaomi Might Soon Find Itself Between a Rock and a Hard Place

So imagine this, you’re waiting for a Xiaomi flash sale, and you miss out on the phone. While in 2016 (maybe even in 2017) you’d have had to wait for the phone to come back in stock the next week because there simply weren’t any options, it’s 2018 and there are a lot of options now.

What would a consumer do, in a situation where they’re in need of a new budget smartphone, but they missed their chance in the flash sale. They could wait for a week, try again, but there’ll be no guarantee of getting it even then. So will a consumer wait anymore? Not really. There are options now, after all, so why wait?

You couldn’t buy the Redmi Note 5 Pro? Guess what, there’s the Realme 1, there’s the Nokia 6, the Nokia 5. There are a lot of choices to go with, and if Xiaomi doesn’t fix its attachment to flash sales, it might well find itself between a rock and a hard place.

What Should Xiaomi Be Doing?

All of these rants beg the question, what would I have Xiaomi do, or am I just ranting without a solution in mind?

Honestly, I’ve always been annoyed with Xiaomi’s flash sales, and now that there are options, I’d tell Xiaomi to fix whatever problem it has and stop flash sales for its smartphones or else people will start flocking to other brands.

Objectively speaking, people still want to buy Xiaomi phones. They’re usually a very well balanced package, but with flash sales, Xiaomi is basically denying millions of willing to-be-Xiaomi-customers from joining its family, and pushing them to other brands (of which Samsung is a part too).

So yeah, you want to gain hype, bring us your best phones Xiaomi, bring us amazing specs for an ‘honest price,’ but stop relying on flash sales. We don’t care if your phones sold out in 1 minute because, at the end of the day, a lot of people missed out on buying a phone they desperately wanted. Instead, have an open-sale. True, your phones will probably not be sold out in a minute, but you’ll gain a lot more in the way of customers.

Comments

4 COMMENTS

  1. Although this strategy is great for phone manufacturers(Develop hype while keeping the production in check and hence incur no loss), it is EXTREMELY frustrating.
    There was a time when Xiaomi’s phones were actually extremely competitive but now they’re on par with every other brand. OnePlus kinda gets it right cause their offerings are still something you can’t beat.
    I’m recently looking for a cheap phone and I’m not considering Xiaomi as a choice at all!
    I’ll see if Asus releases the higher variant of their Zenfone MP1 in a week or so else I’ll just get the Honor 9 lite.

  2. Lol I once challenged head of India operations to do a live stream purchasing a phone in their flash sale. Conveniently dodged it by stating some inventory figures and stuff.

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