The year 2019 saw Vivo launching online exclusive smartphones in India to compete against the likes of Xiaomi to retain market share. The company announced value-for-money phones like the Vivo Z1 Pro, Vivo Z1X, amongst others which were aimed at the likes of Xiaomi’s and Realme’s offerings. Midway through the year, retailers across the country were disappointed by this strategy as customers started buying those cheaper online-exclusive Vivo smartphones, as opposed to the models available offline. This hurt the retailers’ business, however, Vivo saw a YoY increase in its market share by doing so. That being said, Vivo has now confirmed to end its online-exclusive phone strategy from 2020 in favour of its retail partners.
OPPO and Vivo, one of the many subsidiaries of BBK electronics are well-known for their offline sales. These two brands alone invest more money than any other Chinese brands in India for advertising and marketing. You will barely see a single mobile phone shop without a banner of either of the two. However, in 2019, Vivo made a strange decision to launch online-exclusive phones like Z1 Pro, Z1x, U10, and U20. These phones offer much better specifications at a lower price than the brand’s standard phones. Though the sales rocketed for the company, the partners were pissed off and they expressed their situation earlier this year.
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Fast forward to the end of 2019, Jerome Chen, CEO of Vivo Mobiles India, sent a letter to retail partners assuring them the end of online-exclusive phones from the brand from 2020. He also added the future products will be launched simultaneously both offline as well as online at the same price with consistent offers. In his letter, Chen said, “With consumer satisfaction at our core, we aim to keep our business partners, employees, and shareholders content with all our decisions. Having said that, we urge our offline partners to strive together and make the buying experience worth appreciating for our customers.”
As per previous reports, even Vivo’s sister brands Oppo and Vivo along with Samsung are considering to follow this same strategy going forward.