The offline mobile phone retailers have now demanded the same discounts as provided on the e-commerce platforms. The development has come after India's top five Smartphone brands – Xiaomi, Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and Realme are showering discounts on e-commerce websites, including Flipkart and Amazon. All these companies have reported records sales in the past few days over a special discount season on these e-commerce platforms.
Earlier, these smartphone brands have clarified that discounts on e-commerce sites are offered by the brands, not the online channel. In response to the clarification, All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) has now urged all major brands to offer similar discounts to brick and motor retailers.
In its letter to Samsung, Oppo and Vivo, AIMRA said, "Online exclusivity and offers have slaughtered our business. As a manufacturer, you are responsible for maintaining the balance of online and offline mobile retail business; however, you are creating a gaping divide between these two and misbalancing the entire mobile retail business."
Financial daily, the Economic Times reported that the association wrote a separate letter to Xiaomi and Realme, in which it's argued that 15 to 30-day 'priority window' period given to online channels is severely affecting the offline retailers, creating a "huge disparity". In fact, in some instances, the mobile phones available at the offline stores are sold at a higher price than their online counterparts. "We feel it is very unfair to provide all backup and support to them (online) and leave us groping in the dark," the letter added.
Notably, in its letter to Samsung, AIMRA argued that last year's festive season was worst ever in terms of sales for the offline mobile retail business and they have started to face the heat this year as well. The analysts have argued that the festive season is expected to generate revenues of $4.8 billion, or about ₹34,100 crores, for retailers and the major companies are leaving no stone unturned to grab the largest pie from the chunk.
The mobile retail forums have already raised their concerns with the Competition Commission of India (CCI), commerce ministry and the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade. The industry sought government intervention and ban this practice of heavy discounting.