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Xiaomi, Samsung to bring parity to online and offline launches

These two companies have communicated to retailers Monday after the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) said last week that unless the manufacturers maintained parity, retailers across the country would sell at online prices and recover the shortfall from the brands. The communication also included a boycott ultimatum.

, ET Bureau|
Jan 14, 2020, 07.53 AM IST
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KOLKATA: Commerce on the web and brick-and-mortar stores demands a fine balancing act and Xiaomi and Samsung, India’s top two in smartphones, have told the trade that both retailing channels will have an equitable share of business for their future product launches.

These two companies have communicated to retailers Monday after the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) said last week that unless the manufacturers maintained parity, retailers across the country would sell at online prices and recover the shortfall from the brands. The communication also included a boycott ultimatum.

Sales teams and distributors of Samsung have sent an “official communication” through WhatsApp messages to the trade that “all products will be launched simultaneously in GT (general trade), (at) the same time and same date.”

Market leader Xiaomi India’s director (offline sales operations) Sunil Baby, too, has reportedly told AIMRA officials that the company will ensure forthcoming models are launched both online and offline at the same time, and with the same price sticker. The company would earlier offer an exclusive window for new smartphones to online retailers, and then launch offline.

Emails sent to Samsung and Xiaomi remained unanswered.

Samsung has said that its upcoming launch of Galaxy S10 Lite will be covered by the new strategy. Two industry executives said Samsung was planning to launch Galaxy S10 Lite as an online exclusive while Galaxy Note 10 Lite would have been offline exclusive. But now both models will be launched at the same time across both channels, they said.

AIMRA president Arvinder Khurana said Samsung and Xiaomi have informed the brands would maintain parity in launches for their future models. “We want a firm communication from them that they will follow this for all their launches. Otherwise, offline retailers will boycott these brands and anyone else that do not maintain parity,” Khurana said.

The association has been pushing all brands to offer the same smartphone model at the same time to both online and offline trade, and that too at the same price points and with similar offers. Oppo and Vivo have recently issued a trade advisory assuring retailers of this.

The retailers said offline trade of smartphones is badly affected the last couple of years due to the online exclusive models the brands have been launching.

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