Xiaomi Plans to Expand its Offline Store Network in India
Xiaomi’s expansion into offline retail in India was one of the phone maker’s boldest moves in 2017 — previously, it sold its phones exclusively online. The strategy was a success to some extent, but was also an impediment to growth. Rival China-based smartphone vendors such as Oppo, Vivo, and Samsung dominated the offline retail market, and Xiaomi changed course in response.
In May 2017, the company opened its first brick-and-mortar Mi Home store. Since then, it has embarked into a rapid offline expansion program with Mi Home stores, Mi Preferred Partner stores, and large format retail stores such as Croma. Xiaomi’s phones are now available at a variety of offline retailers, and it’s enjoyed increased brand recognition as a result. Its market share has also grown exponentially, to the point where it tied with Samsung in the third quarter of 2017 for the top spot in the $100 billion Indian smartphone market, according to IDC.
Now, Xiaomi plans to expand its India store network, according to a Reuters report. Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain told the publication that the biggest change in 2017 and 2018 is the company’s focus on offline retail. It already operates 17 Mi Home outlets in India, and Mr. Jain said that the company is on track to open 100 Mi Home stores by mid-2019.
Xiaomi’s strategy has, up until now, hinged on flash sales and e-commerce portals such as Amazon and Flipkart, a strategy which helped it save on expensive marketing. Mr. Jain said that the company will launch six to eight new smartphones across key price ranges in 2018, and that the company intends to improve on what it launched in 2017.
Xiaomi released eight smartphones in 2017 priced from Rs. 5000 ($78) to Rs. 33,000 ($516). Samsung, on the other hand, sells more than 40 smartphone models in India.