Xiaomi fans, who have often complained about fewer handsets on sale than demand in the market, have a reason to cheer: they can now get the popular smartphone even cheaper than that offered on Flipkart as the Chinese handset maker will conduct flash sales with refurbished goods e-tailers Overcart and GreenDust.
But there's a catch — the models that will be sold will either be seal-opened but unused, or have some software issues, hence would be refurbished.
Manu Jain, head of India operations at Xiaomi, when asked whether the company was aiming to mainstream sales of such devices in the Indian market, where most consumers are rapidly taking to using smartphones, told ET, "It (sale of refurbished or unboxed phones) is already happening through offline channels in large markets across the country. Our tie-ups with GreenDust and Overcart, among others, will bring this unorganised market to online, making purchases more reliable for consumers," he said. "If everything goes right, we will scale it up."
Open-box or unboxed phone will be sold for Rs 4,999 while the refurbished version will come with a price tag of Rs 4,599 apiece, on both websites, with separate flash sales for both kinds. Both type of phones will have a sixmonth warranty from the sellers. A new Redmi 1S is available at Rs 5,999 on Flipkart.
The e-tailers intend to make flash sales a regular phenomenon with more models, including the Redmi Note and the Mi 3. The market size in India for returned goods through e-commerce was about $350 million in 2013-14, with an estimated 28 million products being returned, half of which were consumer electronics, according to Overcart's internal findings.
The returns market is set to rise to $1.2 billion by 2017-18, in line with the growth of the country's burgeoning e-commerce market.
The company expects about 48 million products to be returned by consumers over the next three years. Within this segment, mobile devices will witness an uptrend. "We're looking at the possibility of having a model where new Xiaomi phones will get sold through Flipkart and refurbished or unboxed will get sold through us," said Hitendra Chaturvedi, founder and chief executive of GreenDust.
"If this is successful, we will only sell these smartphones through our mobile app."
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