On May 15th Xiaomi announced its plans to test their online accessory outlet Mi Store with a brief sale in the UK starting May 19th at 1pm CEST; products can also be shipped to France and Germany. Apparently Europe is not the only market Xiaomi planned to test with a limited sale. On May 18th at 7PM PDT Xiaomi launched its first ever sale in the US market via Mi Store. This marked the first time American consumers could get their hands on products developed by the young but wildly popular Chinese handset maker. Xiaomi's smartphones are still confined to a select number of markets. Not to worry though, Xiaomi has stated global expansion is a top priority for 2015. The launch of the Mi Store in Western markets is the first step on their journey to releasing handsets (for a number of reasons).
That being said, the number of products offered is rather sparse. However, consumers can rest assured that the products they are receiving offer great features and an eye-catching design, not to mention their very competitive price point. The products for sale on the Mi Store include the 10,400 mAh Mi Power Bank at $13.99, the 5,000 mAh Mi Power Bank at $9.99, the $14.99 Mi Band (a fitness tracking wearable), and lastly the slightly more expensive Mi Headphones for $79.99. Fans of well-designed accessories sporting lots of metal and premium materials will be pleased with these products. For more specifics regarding each device visit this article.
As of right now, the limited stock of each device has been completely depleted. However, this was their first sale, more will come in the future, and given how fast the stock they made available sold out they will hopefully have more the next time. Next is shipping. These products are shipped directly from Xiaomi's Chinese warehouses, making them subject to import duties in addition to high shipping costs. For example, the shipping cost of a 10,400 mAh Mi Power Bank is $10. For a device costing only $13.99 paying $10 in shipping seems ludicrous and greatly cheapens the value proposition of Mi accessories, which is one of their major selling points. However, at a total cost of $23.99 it is still a bargain considering both its capacity and its design.
While being able to purchase a selection of Xiaomi's accessories is great, the real exciting part of the Mi Store's launch in the US and Europe is the signal it sends regarding the possible proliferation of Xiaomi handsets in Western markets. Though Xiaomi has not officially announced plans for a US or European release it will come sooner than later considering the exponential growth in Xiaomi's brand awareness amongst Westerners over the past year. The launch of Mi Store should certainly help propel that growth and encourage Xiaomi to dip its toes into Western waters a little more, the next time it is feeling adventurous.