Xiaomi had officially arrived in the UK last week, and announced its launch activities as part of that announcement. It was expected that everything will go according to plan, but the company managed to mess up, mess up really bad, actually. As part of its launch, the company announced that two of its smartphones will be available at an incredible price tag of just £1, and that managed to get thousands of people to camp (online, not literally) in order to get their hands on one of those devices. Xiaomi did not make it clear as to how many of its devices will be available for purchase at £1 during the sale, and that’s where the issue lies. People were expecting a bunch of phones, and instead, the company offered three Mi 8 Lite units, while other flash deals offered only two units for £1. It is not difficult to imagine how disappointed people were when they found out about this, as they see this as a betrayal on Xiaomi’s part, as they did not mention the details beforehand. If consumers knew about this, a lot of them would be less enthusiastic about the whole deal, which may be the reason why Xiaomi did not announce it at first.
The company quickly realized how wrong it was, as the reaction from UK consumers was… well, not positive for Xiaomi. Before we get to the part with Xiaomi’s apology, it is worth noting that a ton of people on Twitter called out Xiaomi for this move, many of them used the word “scam” as part of their tweets. To make things worse, one user even looked into Xiaomi’s website code, and found out that it was set to show “sold out” as soon as the phones get listed on the site. The company did later clarify that the phone would be sold on a lottery basis (which we’ll talk about more in the third paragraph), but at first, there was no such mention, and the users presumed that it will be done in the first-come-first-serve basis instead. Needless to say, this was a really bad first impression that Xiaomi left in the UK, but as already mentioned, the company did apologize soon after.
The company actually Tweeted out an apology via its official XiaomiUK Twitter handle. In its tweet, the company first thanked its fans and future customers for their support. The company went on to explain the situation by saying that it changed the name of the promotion from “Crazy Deal” to “Flash Sale”, but that it did not realize that the public associates this term with a very particular type of deal that Xiaomi has run in the past, where far more than 10 devices were made available for purchase. Xiaomi reassures its customers that 10 devices overall were made available for £1, and that 10 customers did manage to buy them for £1, as some people claimed it was a huge scam overall. The company clarified that thousands of people clicked the ‘buy’ button on the site at the same time, and that its system selected 10 winners randomly. At the very end of this statement, Xiaomi apologized by saying the following: “We would like to apologize for any misunderstanding. If you would like any further information or clarity, please DM us”.
Background: Xiaomi had announced its UK arrival last week, and had listed its products on the mi.com/uk website. The company actually listed quite a few devices on the website, including the following: Pocophone F1, Mi 8, Mi 8 Lite, Mi 8 Pro, Mi A2, Mi A2 Lite, Redmi Note 6 Pro, Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Redmi Note 5, Redmi S2, Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro 2, Mi Sports Bluetooth Earphones, Mi Headphones Comfort, Xiaomi Mi Band 3, 10000mAh Mi Power Bank 2S, 5000mAh Mi Power Bank 2, 10000mAh Mi Power bank Pro, and the Mi Motion-Activated Night Light. Those of you with a keen eye will notice that the Mi MIX 3 flagship is missing, for example, but that’s because a global variant of that phone has not been made available by Xiaomi just yet, though it is rumored to become available in a month or two. In any case, Xiaomi announced that its products are available via its official website, but also via Amazon, Carphone Warehouse, Three, and a number of other sources. Having said that, the company will also open up its first retail store in the UK really soon, that store will be opened in Westfield White City, in London, and the opening will occur on November 18. The company is expected to offer some deals to consumers on that date as well, as part of the opening day / ceremony. All of the devices that the company announced are competitively-priced, which has always been one of the main selling points for Xiaomi’s smartphones. You can get the Pocophone F1 for £329 (based model), for example, while the Mi 8 starts at £459. The Mi 8 Lite can be purchased for £249, while the Mi 8 Pro is priced at £499, and that is the company’s flagship, alongside the Mi MIX 3, of course.
Xiaomi has been expanding in Europe for quite some time now, the company had announced a number of retail stores in Europe this year, including stores in Italy and France, amongst other. This China-based company is even planning an event in the US for December 8, though it remains to be seen if that will have anything to do with the company’s arrival in the US (as far as smartphones are concerned), or will it be something else entirely. Xiaomi had already sold over 100 million smartphones in 2018, that actually happened quite some time ago, so it’s possible that number is noticeably higher by now. The company actually managed to sell 2 million smartphones in less than 2.5 days during its recent annual sale, and it sold over 10 million Redmi 5A devices in India in only nine months, which is saying a lot about its presence in India. At the moment, Xiaomi is putting great focus on Europe, and is expanding quite a bit, it remains to be seen what country is next in line.
Impact: Xiaomi’s arrival in the UK brings a lot of competition for a ton of smartphone manufacturers that are currently selling their smartphones in the country, though Xiaomi certainly did not leave the best first impression, far from it. We’ll see where will things go from here, but the company will almost certainly manage to increase its presence in Europe despite its initial mistakes in the UK, as the company did not make such mistakes in any of the other markets in the UK. Xiaomi’s portfolio in Europe will grow in the coming months, as the Mi MIX 3 is expected to arrive in the UK and other European markets, along with some other products.