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Why Xiaomi needs to be transparent with fans on Redmi Note 3 numbers

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For the third week in a row, Xiaomi and Amazon sold an unspecified number of Redmi Note 3 smartphones in India.

While in the first two weeks, the companies sold a small number of 32-GB models in addition to the 16-GB variants, this time, they made it clear that only the cheaper model was on offer.

According to a survey we conducted, only 2% of the people looking for information on Redmi Note 3 were interested in the 16 GB model. 97% were interested in primarily the 32 GB version, while 1% were okay with both.

However, in terms of actual sales, the trends are more or less the opposite. While there are about 800 ratings and reviews for the 16 GB model on Amazon, there are only around 110 reviews and ratings for the 32 GB version.

This would suggest only 12% of the units sold in India so far came with 3 GB RAM and the remaining 88% had only 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, assuming that the percentage of buyers who left reviews and feedback is the same for both models.

UPDATE: Responding to complaints, Xiaomi has clarified that more stocks are on their way to India from China and 32 GB sales have not been discontinued. See here.

ADVANTAGE RIVALS?

This could be good news for Xiaomi’s rivals like LeEco, which has the Le 1s model out in the market and available on demand. The phone has double the storage memory, 50% more RAM, Gorilla Glass protection and a more-powerful processor compared to the 16-GB Redmi Note 3. At the same time, it costs only Rs 1,000 more.pollxi

According to another survey that we conducted, only 5% of would-be buyers of 32-GB version of the Note were willing to switch to the 16 GB version if there is no information about when the more expensive model will come back in stock.

For now, Xiaomi is tight-lipped about both how many units of the phones it has sold as well as when it plans to get the 32 GB variant in stock in India, which does nothing to lower frustration among fans.

However, we expect the company to give some information about the upcoming availability of the 32-GB version in India.

This is not the first time fans have been frustrated with the brand.

After a dream entry into India with the launch of the Mi3 and the first Note, the company has had difficulty keeping up with consumers’ expectations in the country. It made the first blunder when it unveiled a 3G-only successor to the Mi3 at a time when most brands were moving into the 4G market. Moreover, while the Mi3 was priced at just Rs 13,999, it’s successor was priced at Rs 19,999 — which came as second shock to loyal fans.

Xiaomi owes its success in India and elsewhere to the goodwill that it enjoys among fans. It uses this goodwill and support for reaching more and more customers using social media.

If it loses this precious asset, it will be forced to spend millions to promote its devices just like other companies. This will inturn increase the costs of conducting its business, forcing the company to raise prices. Higher prices will deprive the company of its biggest USP — high-quality hardware at modest prices.

Meanwhile, other brands — particularly LeEco — are snapping at its heels and have successfully built social media-based marketing strategies that also allow them to keep prices low and compete successfully with Xiaomi. This will be crucial going forward as the company is expected to launch its Mi5 model in India next month.

For now, the company needs to open up its channels of communication and tell its fans clearly what the deal is if it is to maintain their support. Otherwise, it risks losing the goodwill that it has so painstakingly cultivated.
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