Xiaomi’s story of rising from the crowd and dominating the Indian smartphone market is nothing short of a fairytale. It debuted in India in 2014 when it was seen as just another Chinese brand but thanks to the relatively affordable pricing for better specifications and performance combined with the hype of flash sales, it has now been the number 1 smartphone brand in India for past three quarters. But recently, Xiaomi has been on a launch spree where it has announced a number of budget smartphones at almost every price point.
The Redmi Y2 is the most recent launch which is a selfie-centric budget smartphone priced at Rs.9,999. It’s highlighting features including a 16-megapixel front camera along with 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel dual rear cameras with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. It further has a 5.99-inch HD+ display with Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor and 3080mAh battery.
While this sounds like a good deal which it actually is, things start to get confusing when you have a look at other Xiaomi offerings. In this case, the Redmi Note 5 starts at the same pricing of Rs. 9,999 and offers similar specs except for a few changes. It sports a Full HD+ display, 12-megapixel rear shooter, 5-megapixel front shooter, and 4000mAh battery. It means at the same price point, one device is offering a better camera and another is offering a better display and bigger battery.
This is just the beginning as last year’s Redmi Y1 and Redmi 5 offer a similar situation. Both are priced at Rs. 8,999 for the 3GB RAM variant but the former is better only in the selfie camera department as it features a 16-megapixel shooter. Other than this, the Redmi 5 is a better offering in every aspect including display, processor, and battery.
Lastly, we have the Redmi 5A and Redmi Y1 Lite smartphones priced at Rs. 6,999. Both of these are equally specced at Snapdragon 425 processor, 13-megapixel rear camera, and 5-megapixel front camera. But in differences, the Redmi Y1 Lite has a bigger display and battery but with 2GB RAM as compared to 3GB RAM on the Redmi 5A.
As you can see, Xiaomi has a total of six smartphones under Rs. 10,000 price bracket competing against each other. This is a complete confusing situation, especially for potential buyers. But that’s not the end of it because interested buyers have one more thing to deal with. It is the situation of flash sales where many Xiaomi fans have to return empty-handed as they go out of stock very quickly.
Xiaomi holds flash sales for each of these phones once a week. During the sale, it makes an undisclosed amount of stock available for purchase and if you are lucky enough, only then you are able to purchase the phone. More often than not, Xiaomi fans end up seeing the “Out of Stock” banner and for many of them, the story remains the same even after participating in flash sales weeks after week. To make things worse, many people indulge in black marketing by purchasing multiple units and selling them at up to Rs. 2,000-3,000 higher than the selling price.
This brings us to another situation where Xiaomi talks about manufacturing constraints as the reason for not being able to meet the huge demand for Redmi Note 5 Pro. But despite that, it is able to launch new models every now and then which feels like an ironic situation.
This whole Xiaomi situation is undoubtedly looking messed up and might even go in the wrong direction in the long run. With so many confusing options and that too with not enough stock, buyers are already getting frustrated and it is only a matter of time when they will start to look for alternatives. In the meantime, we can only expect Xiaomi to fix the situation before it gets too late.