Aiming to gain a further foothold in the offline smartphone market as the festive season inches near, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi on Thursday unveiled an exclusive ‘Mi Home’ retail store at Ambience Mall, Gurugram. “The store would be thrown open for the public on August 19 at 10 am,” Manu Jain, Vice President, Xiaomi and Managing Director, Xiaomi India, told IANS here. Xiaomi has primarily been an online-exclusive brand but it aggressively stepped up its offline presence across India this year via its ‘Mi Home’ stores, ‘Mi Preferred Partner’ (PP) stores and ‘Large Format Retailer’ (LFR) partners. “Till last year, the offline numbers used to be less than 10 per cent. It fell down to about 5 per cent in the beginning of this year with the release of Redmi ‘Note 4’ because it was an online-exclusive model. We then started re-builing our offline journey and for the first time, in July 2017, we crossed 20 per cent,” Jain informed. According to market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Xiaomi now has a 17.9 per cent market share in the Indian smartphone space.
The company’s ‘Redmi Note 4’ has pipped Samsung’s Galaxy J2 as the top shipped smartphone in India in the second quarter with 7.97 per cent market share. The company is now focusing on expanding ‘Mi ‘Home’ stores and plans to add 100 such stores in the next two years. Xiaomi now has about 100 ‘Mi Preferred Partners’ or ‘city distributors’ in 11 cities including Kolkata, Kochi, Chennai and Guwahati, among others. “We have 600 ‘Mi Preferred Partners’ right now and want to take it 20 cities by October. We want to take it to 1,500 stores across 30 cities by the end of this year,” Jain told IANS. The company’s first ‘Mi Preferred Partner’ store came up in Bengaluru where Xiaomi also opened its first ‘Mi Home’ in May this year. Xiaomi ruled out the ‘flash sales’ strategy for ‘Mi Homes’. “We would not see shortage of phones in these stores and if a device is out of stock, the buyer can ask for an ‘F-code’ to purchase the device online,” Jain noted. Xiaomi has also begun carrying out pilot programmes in rural areas that have limited reach and less exposure to e-commerce sites.
Currently, the programme is being tested in Karnataka where the company is working with retailers in a different way. Xiaomi ships its products to over 14,000 pin codes — close to 40 percent of the country’s total — every single week. “We are now present in more than 8,500 stores via our innovative offline distribution network. Last year was indeed a great year and we achieved several milestones while building our India story,” Jain had earlier told IANS. Xiaomi India reached three major milestones in 2016 — it crossed $1 billion in annual revenue for the first time, secured a spot among the top three smartphone players in the country and, in October, sold a record 1.35 million smartphones.