Xiaomi love their flash sales but there are signs that the Indian market is starting to lose interest: that is, if you consider selling sixty thousand units in under fourteen seconds to be indicative of a bored market! This was Xiaomi’s fifth flash sale; at their fourth flash sale, 60,000 Redmi 1S devices were sold in a shade over five seconds. Xiaomi have also announced that the next flash sale will take place in two weeks time on the 14 October and that something special is happening next week, on the 7 October. We recently reported that Xiaomi is gearing up to increase its weekly flash sale quantities from 60,000 units to 100,000 units, so perhaps we’ll see 100,000 Redmi 1S going up for sale in a fortnight. In the same story, we reported that Xiaomi are believed to be reintroduce their Mi3, which is perhaps what they mean by “something special” next week.
I’ll go over the Redmi 1S and Mi3 devices, starting with the Redmi 1S first. This is an entry level Android device by price but certainly not by hardware features and specification. It’s based around a quad core, 1.6 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 4.7-inch 720p screen and an 8 MP rear camera. The Redmi 1S is just 5,999 Indian Rupees, the equivalent of £60 or $100. This is Android One money, but rather than offer a stock Android experience, the 1S uses Xiaomi’s MIUI interface. The Mi3 is a more expensive, more powerful device, based around the quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 5.0-inch, 1080p resolution screen. The Mi3 also has an improved rear camera at 13 MP and costs 13,999 Rupees, around £140 or $230. Like the smaller, less powerful Redmi 1S, the Mi3 uses MIUI software, based on Android 4.4 Kit Kat.
Xiaomi are not alone in using a “hunger marketing” strategy, that is, releasing devices in relatively small quantities in order to keep consumer interest high. It’s a game that Apple play out year after year and one that has been milked by OnePlus, too. Xiaomi’s claim is that they are a relatively small device manufacturer and are unable to afford the production lines that the bigger manufacturers manage. However, they are balancing a fine act between frustrating customers with unobtainable devices and keeping people interested. Hunger marketing’s main attraction – absence makes the heart grow fonder – only works to a point! Given their plans to ramp up the sales of devices, it appears that Xiaomi are changing tactics and if this is the case, I welcome it.