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Realme Plans To Open 300-500 Smart Stores In 2021 In India: CEO Madhav Sheth Confirms
The second wave of COVID-19 has affected the sales of smartphones drastically in the country, but handset players are still optimistic about the upcoming quarters with new launches. Besides, several research firm claims that the market is recovering sooner than expected as buyers have started visiting offline stores to purchase new devices.
In fact, these firms state that the demand for the 5G handset is also increasing despite the spectrum auction is scheduled for the next year. However, in an interview with Gizbot- vice president of Realme and CEO of Realme India & Europe, Madhav Sheth said that the company wants to bring half of its products under the 5G segment across price segments.
Q1. Has COVID-19 changed Realme's strategies in India? If yes, how?
We adjusted our portfolio to bring more options to the mid-range and entry-level because we know after the pandemic, consumer demand shifted towards more utilitarian purchases. So, we introduced the refreshed C series product line. We also noticed the pent-up demand from the youth for performance phones at the affordable segment, this is why we have launched the Realme Narzo series in India.
Last year, we aimed to open 50 stores, but we were moving a little slow from our original plan. We managed to open nearly 40 stores till now. Offline expansion is always significant to Realme so this year, we again prioritize this strategy and we will be launching 300-500 smart stores nationwide and a few flagship stores.
Q2. How much has the second wave of COVID 19 and lockdown impacted your business in India?
The sales for Realme have been consistent. We have seen a pent-up demand online by 10-20 percent and especially for value for money phones. We have registered steady offline sales in a few states, which were open following the government norms of lockdown.
We are also working on the plan to democratize 5G technology and are focused on creating a TechLife ecosystem with a range of smartphones, smart TVs, audio, and wearables.
Q3. How COVID-19 is affecting the smartphone industry?
I would not like to comment on other industry players. At Realme, we are very much on track with our product roadmap and all the priorities for the Indian market well-defined.
Q4. You have recently launched a new sub-brand called Dizo. So, please tell us about the products you are planning to bring under the same brand?
DIZO is an individual brand. It has its management, marketing, and operations team, which is not connected with Realme. The brand has its manifesto, own market strategy, and is centered around its mission.
Q5 Are you planning to launch feature phones under your sub-brand DIZO?
DIZO has some exciting products lined up, but i will let DIZO decide on what, when, and how to officially announce the launch of these products.
Q6. You have launched smart TVs, smartwatches, and TWS? What other categories will Realme enter?
Realme has entered the AIoT 2.0 development phase with an advanced '1+5+T' strategy, an evolution from the previous '1+4+N' strategy, and further expands the AIoT ecosystem and product portfolio. '1+5+T' is defined as a smartphone, five AIoT products, and products under TechLife.
Q7. What kind of market share are you looking at by the end of this year? Especially in the 5G handset market?
Realme aims to be the top three smartphone brand and number one online smartphone brand by clocking 25- 30 million in sales in smartphones in 2021. Besides, Realme wants to lead the 5G market in 2021, and half of our products will be 5G. So, 5G-enabled smartphones will be a volume driver as well.
Additionally, Realme wants to be the number one audio, wearable brand, and smartTV brand. We are also targetting 15 million users in 2021 for AIoT products.
Q8. How many smartphones will Realme launch this year?
We have many exciting launches in the pipeline. As a 5G leader, we will bring the power of 5G-enabled smartphones across different price segments, along with 4G variants. As i have mentioned before, we want to achieve 25-30 million sales in this calendar year; however, this will be reviewed quarterly basis market conditions.
Q9. What else can we expect from Realme this year?
We recently announced plans to launch two new AIoT products - the Realme watch 2 Pro, TechLife Robot Vacuum, and Laptops - as a part of an accelerated AIoT product strategy for the next five years. As a 5G leader, we will also democratize 5G chipsets across price segments and bring more 5G-enabled smartphones to meet the emerging needs of Indian consumers.