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Vivo announces end of online-exclusivity from January

In what seems to be a big win for offline retailers, who have been protesting against online exclusive smartphone models for months, the Chinese smartphone brand Vivo has announced the end of online exclusivity.

“We will simultaneous launch of the product or variant model at the same time and same price across offline and online channels,” said Jerome Chen, CEO of Vivo India in official communication.

The brand will also give consistent price and offers across channels.

Notably, this is not the first mobile brand to give in to offline retailers protest.

In October, Entrackr had reported that Chinese multinational corporation BBK Electronics that owns brands including Realme, Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus plan to not renew their agreement with online sellers to have exclusive online launches.

RealMe had also issued an official statement assuring brick and mortar retailers that the brand will maintain a complete parity between online and offline retailers.

Currently, Vivo, Oppo and Realme command around 29% of the smartphone market in India.

Samsung has also been engaged in talks with offline retailers on the matter. According to Mobile Dealers Association, both Samsung and OPPO will launch all their future smartphones online and offline simultaneously. However, unlike Vivo India, there has been no written communication from these brands.

The development will strengthen the position of offline retailers and bodies, including CAIT and AIMRA against Flipkart and Amazon.

Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary-General of CAIT, hailed the move by Vivo India and appealed all mobile brands to do the same.

“Brands must play a crucial role in bringing back sanity to e-commerce”, he said.

In the last couple of years, online sales have been used extensively by new and existing smartphone brands to improve their market penetration and reach customers all over the country. These brands with huge discounts gain traction for their new launches even before they develop an offline network of retails and distributors.

The practice hurt offline retailers as they find hard competing with the disparity of prices and exclusive launches.

” We would like all the other brands in India to come up and stand against strong clout and Press Note 2 violation by e-comm firms,” said Arvinder Khurana, president of All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA), the pan-India body of offline cellphone retailers

AIMRA, which has been opposing online exclusivity of mobile brands, will stage a huge protest over the matter on Jan 8 at Ramlila Maidan. The protest is expected to witness the participation of 25,000 mobile retailers.

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