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Amidst protest by offline retailers, Realme, Vivo and Oppo to stop exclusive deals with e-comm firms

Handset manufacturers have paid heed to the recent protest by the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) regarding exclusive launches and deep discounting of mobile phones on online platforms.

Chinese multinational corporation BBK Electronics that owns several popular brands including Realme, Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus are unlikely to renew their agreement with online sellers to have exclusive online launches.

The contract which ends in December was a major talking point of the letter written by the trader body AIMRA which represent thousands of offline mobile sellers in India. AIMRA had demanded equal discount and treatment for offline retailers as those given to online retailers.

Out of three of BBK’s major brands, RealMe has issued an official statement on the matter assuring brick and mortar retailers that the brand will maintain a complete parity between online and offline retailers.

The company won’t launch an online exclusive model, an exclusive period of launch, price or brand offers from January next year as per Arvinder Khurana, president of AIMRA.

While Vivo and Oppo are yet to issue an official statement, they have agreed in principle about the matter in question. They have assured that they will also release their official statement soon.

Online sales model has been used extensively by new and existing smartphone brands to improve their market penetration and reach customers all over the country. These brands gain traction for their new launches even before they develop an offline network of retails and distributors.

Over time, they started launching online exclusive models of their smartphones, priced them lower than their offline counterparts. These practices ended up hurting offline retailers dearly, as they couldn’t compete with the disparity of prices and exclusive launches.

During the festive period with started with Navratri, offline sales were decimated by the festive sales and deep discounting by online marketplaces.

However, things are about to change as the three Chinese brands Vivo, Oppo and Realme who command around 29% of the smartphone market currently, are looking to stop their online exclusives.

Counterpoint Research

Even BBK’s premium smartphone brand – OnePlus, which was notoriously only available online through special coupon codes, has changed the strategy for the Indian market.

It has implemented a different approach with its supply chain by setting up an India-specific offline retail channel to boost sales in tier II and tier III cities.

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