Chinese handset maker Realme has become the fastest-growing smartphone brand in India, selling 15 million handsets in the very first year of its operations and is targeting to double the sales next year, its CEO Madhav Sheth said.
Realme, which began as an Oppo sub-brand in May 2018, was promptly spun off into a standalone entity and is now taking on bigger rival Xiaomi with similar price points and segments of ₹7,000-20,000 phones.
Unlike other Chinese players like Vivo and Oppo, which are offline-focussed with investments in channel marketing and offline distribution, Realme aped the strategy of the market leader closely and focussed on online from the start.
Sheth, who founded the company together with BBK Group, said Realme is ranked seventh fastest growing smartphone brand globally. “We will end 2019, the first full year of our operations, with sales of 15 million handsets. We are targeting to at least double this in 2020,” he told PTI.
The brand commands 14.3% market share, he said quoting industry data by International Data Corporation (IDC). Realme has now risen to become the fourth biggest smartphone brand in India in the third quarter, according to IDC. Its popularity exploded on the same lines as Xiaomi, which has been selling its phones in the country since 2015, by offering a good price-to-quality ratio on its smartphones.
According to IDC, Xiaomi is the market leader with 27.1% share followed by Samsung (18.9%) and Vivo (15.2%) in the third quarter. Realme had 3.1 % market share in the third quarter of 2018.
Starting from India, today Realme is present in 20 markets including China, Southeast Asia, Russia, Europe, he said. “We have sold 5.2 million smartphones during Diwali month alone,” Sheth said.
According to Counterpoint Research, Realme shipped 10 million smartphones in third quarter of 2019, an 808% year-on-year growth in shipments. Phones like the Realme C2, Realme 3i and Realme 5 were among the company’s best-selling models during the festive season sales.
Counterpoint report says the company now ranks seventh in the global smartphone market.
Sheth said the company plans to roll out an offline-only series for India which will be named by the end of this year. Aimed at the mid-premium range, the new series will focus more on all-rounder user experiences such as a better battery, touch, and feel (aesthetics).
“We are lining up with more smart accessories with great performance and trendy design. Realme will become a tech lifestyle brand in 2020,” he said.
Realme has 4 successful product line-ups in India: C series, Number series, Pro series, and X series.
Realme maintains a very strong presence online and is already the number 1 brand on Flipkart and number 2 overall. The brand is also expanding its presence in offline markets.
It is targeting 30% sales from offline and 70% from online, he said. BBK Electronics also owns Vivo and Oppo smartphone brands. He said Realme is already an independent entity. “We wanted to clarify that Realme Mobile Telecommunications Private Ltd is already an independent brand and legal entity,” he said adding the brand was set up by him and founder Sky Li on May 4, 2018.
BBK holds majority stake and he has a minority interest in the firm, Sheth said without giving details.