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Noisy smartphone brands switch to silent mode following price hikes

Dear brands, while you be honest about the pricing at launch, please follow the same when it comes to announcing price hikes as well.

September 06, 2021 / 07:54 PM IST
The base model of the Redmi Note 10 with 4GB + 64GB storage is priced at Rs 13,999 against the launch price of Rs 11,999.

The base model of the Redmi Note 10 with 4GB + 64GB storage is priced at Rs 13,999 against the launch price of Rs 11,999.

Chinese device makers Xiaomi and Realme recently hiked the prices of their smartphones in India. The two arch-rivals, who often take the banter to social media, have surprisingly remained quiet when it comes to announcing the price hikes of popular budget smartphones like the Redmi Note 10, Realme 8 series, etc.

In case you are not aware, the Redmi Note 10 has received multiple price hikes. The base 4GB RAM variant, which was launched in India for Rs 11,999, is now retailing at Rs 13,999. The current price of the 4GB RAM variant matches that of the 6GB variant’s launch price, which is now available for Rs 15,499 on the device maker’s India website. The device in both variants is updated with the hiked price on Amazon India, where it is available exclusively for purchase other than Mi’s own channels.

Realme recently bumped up the prices of its budget phones by up to Rs 1,500 in India. For example, the Realme 8, which takes on the Redmi Note 10, is now available for Rs 15,999 for the base 4GB + 128GB storage option. Other variants of the device too have received a price hike. Even the 5G variant of the phone comes at a price tag of Rs 15,499 for the base 4GB + 64GB variant. Devices like the C21, C25s have got a price hike of Rs 500 as well. Fortunately, the company decided to increase the price at once and not multiple times like its competitor.

Vivo, Realme’s cousin under the BBK Electronics group, has not officially announced any price hikes for its limited budget Y-series phones, which are mostly available offline. Oppo too has hiked the price of some of its phones like the A54 in India. The company announced a Rs 500 price hike for both variants, starting September 1.

Samsung also increased the price of the Galaxy A52 in India by Rs 1,000. The Galaxy A52 is now priced at Rs 27,499 (launch price Rs 26,499) for the base 6GB/128GB model and Rs 28,999 (launch price Rs 27,999) for the 8GB/128GB variant.

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The price hike seems justified as the prices of components and other raw materials have increased during the pandemic. Companies have also experienced supply chain constraints and an increase in the cost of transportation due to COVID-induced lockdowns and rising fuel prices. 

However, informing customers about the price hike via official channels is the least a company could do. While Oppo did make an announcement, Xiaomi and Realme stayed mum and quietly increased the prices of their devices. The price hikes aren’t minimal either. A staggering increase of Rs 2,000 in the budget smartphone segment pushes the phone altogether into a different price point. 

When Moneycontrol reached out, Xiaomi said it is “a firm believer of innovation for everyone at honest pricing.” The company reiterated that the increase in cost due to a price hike of components like chipsets, batteries, memory chips, etc., has led to the company increasing the final selling price of its devices as well. “Despite the new changes, we at Mi India will continue on our promise of maintaining only a 5 percent profit margin on hardware and optimise our costs such that we can offer the best price we can to the consumers,” Xiaomi India said. 

Realme too said that the price hike was due to an increase in the components cost. However, the company has tried its best to absorb some of the increased cost.

Again, while the price hike seems justified but staying quiet about it does not. We say so because when it comes to a sale event or a price drop of even Rs 500 for a product, companies leave no stone unturned to spread the word out via social media channels, press releases, etc.

The ongoing global health crisis could make things worse if India gets hit by a third wave. It is possible that we could see another wave of price hikes alongside. That being said, dear smartphone brands, while you be honest with the pricing and try and democratise the latest of tech at an affordable price, it would be nice if you be transparent about the price hikes as well.
Pranav Hegde
first published: Sep 1, 2021 05:01 pm

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