Editor in Chief
- Dec 30, 2010
- Reaction score
- Austin, TX
It appears that the Android One could end up as a commercial failure in India despite its potential for good value. Sales for the $100 USD device are poor right now. The first three Android One devices were the Spice Android One Dream, Karbonn Sparkle V, and Micromax Canvas A1(Spice, Karbonn and Micromax are carriers in India).
The problem in sales stems from the fact that these carriers only sold the phone initially online. Unfortunately, only about 12% of mobile sales happen online in India, where they apparently have a different mid-set about purchasing a product that other parts of the world.
The nasty turn of events is that the carriers decided they would try shipping the devices out to physical retailers to boost sales, but unfortunately, because they started with online exclusivity, the physical retailers are refusing to take them. Retailers like Croma, Future Group, Planet MRetail and Next Retail, BigC,Lot Mobiles, Reliance Retail and Sangeetha Mobiles (which is about 1800 stores across India) are now boycotting sales of the device. There are a couple of reasons for this behavior. Here's a quote with more of the details,
First, the retailers were not very happy about the fact that the smartphones were only sold online during the initial launch and media hype stage. So now, they feel inclined to respond in kind and not help out the Android One program, when it needs to boost its sales. Secondly, Android One profit margins only tally up to 3-4%, when the norm in the country is 9-10%. So the retailers feel as if it's a "waste of energy" to stock up on and sell the devices. Furthermore, they generally feel that the $100 price segment already has enough good handsets for Android One to make a dent.
Things are completely bleak for the future of Android One though. Both Spice and Karbonn reported that once they started selling the devices in their own physical stores, their sales went up exponentially. This means it's still a bit too early to call the Android One a flop. Only time will tell if the device can gain more traction there.