As Xiaomi widens its smartphone lead over Samsung in India, a new competitor is increasingly posing a challenge.
Realme, a one-and-half-year-old smartphone vendor that spun out of Oppo, commanded 14.3% of the world's second largest smartphone market in the quarter that ended in September, research firm IDC said on Monday.
While Xiaomi, with 27.1% of the local smartphone market share, still dominates the market, the volume of handsets that Realme has shipped in India — 7.1 million — rose at a staggering 401.3% since the same period last year, according to IDC.
What's fascinating about Realme's expansion in India is just how closely it is replicating Xiaomi's playbook in the country. Like Xiaomi, Realme for a year sold phones only through an online channel to cut overhead costs. Last quarter, the company began selling phones in India through offline stores, which still account for more than two-thirds of all smartphone sales.
In terms of online-only shipment, the company's market share has ballooned to 26.5% in Q3 2019 from 16.5% in Q2 this year, the research firm said.
Realme has launched more than a dozen aggressively priced smartphone models so far, all priced between $80 to $240 — the sweet spot in the local market. In fact, IDC says Realme's C2, 3i and 3 models — priced between $80 and $110 — were the top-selling phones for the company in Q3 this year.
Like Xiaomi's handsets, Realme smartphones pack above the punch — sporting some of the highest-end hardware modules for their price range. The $80 Realme C2 features a six-inch HD+ display, 3+2 rear megapixel cameras, 4,000 mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage — and it supports 4G networks and has a facial unlock feature.