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Realme to drive competition in premium segment; bullish on offline expansion

“We wanted to change the definition of the premium segment. It is not about pricing but giving experience. We are offering all features from the latest chipset to the fastest charging. we will keep on expanding the portfolio. It is just an entry a...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 21, 2019, 12.19 PM IST
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RealMe
Realme's latest Snapdragon 855 + processor powered phone's base variant is priced at Rs 29,999, while 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage variant is priced at Ra 33,999.
Chinese handset maker Realme has made its entry into India’s premium segment with the launch of X2Pro smartphone to take on the likes of OnePlus, Samsung and Apple, and is now claiming to disrupt the segment with a slew of premium phones.

“We wanted to change the definition of the premium segment. It is not about pricing but giving experience. We are offering all features from the latest chipset to the fastest charging. we will keep on expanding the portfolio. It is just an entry and we have many more devices to come,” Madhav Sheth, India CEO, told ET.

All other BBK Electronics companies—OnePlus, Oppo and Vivo—are already present in the premium segment. OnePlus has consistently maintained its lead in the premium segment (Rs 30,000 and above). It was the only premium smartphone brand to surpass 0.5 million shipments mark the third quarter.

Faisal Kawoosa, founder analyst at TechArc said that Realme’s acceptability in the premium segment will be higher than Xiaomi in premium segment due to its continuous success in every segment it entered.

“Realme also has built a very impressive offline reputation in a very short span so can give good competition to Samsung as well,” he added.

Realme has increased its focus on offline expansion and is aiming to increase its offline touchpoints from 7000 to 35000 by 2020 calendar year-end. “Offline is about the experience, but it is not limited to premium phones,” Sheth said, adding that the company will expand the presence without providing ‘exorbitant’ trade margins to retailers.

It is also planning to launch an exclusive offline smartphone series in the first quarter of 2020, Sheth revealed.

Overall, the premium smartphone segment in India reached its highest ever recorded shipment this quarter with 2.14 million shipment sales in Q3. The segment also witnessed a record yearly growth of 66% this quarter, as per Counterpoint data.

“A startup like Realme has been successful in carving a niche for itself in India by being aggressive and agile enough to introduce new phones with the latest specs at affordable price points swiftly,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR said, adding that the premium The smartphone segment in India is hypercompetitive but offers enough avenues for growth.

Realme was the fastest-growing handset brand in India in the July- September quarter and recorded its highest ever shipments. It registered a 6X growth as compared to last year when it entered the Indian market with its competitive mid-range portfolio and aggressive online strategy m, as per Counterpoint.

“There are pockets of growth available for smartphone brands that offer a differentiated and unique experience to the demanding consumers, whether it be in terms of specs, packaging and the overall value proposition,” Ram said.

Realme recently invested Rs 300 crore in setting up eight surface mounting technology (SMT) lines to increase the capacity to cater to the festive demand. It is now looking at further increasing the capacity.

"We are exploring possibilities of exports from India to other markets," Sheth said.

Realme's latest Snapdragon 855 + processor powered phone's base variant is priced at Rs 29,999, while 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage variant is priced at Ra 33,999. The device comes with 50W SuperVooc charging capability and is equipped with a 90Hz display. The phone also comes with 64 MP quad-camera setup with 20x soon.
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