When Realme debuted in India, its goal was to shake up the low-end smartphone market that Xiaomi gradually took the reins of. Having started as an Oppo sub-brand, Realme soon spun off into a separate entity and, in a little over three years, it became one of the most important brands. Realme’s entry-level smartphones were the reason behind the brand’s momentous success initially, but over time, the company nearly abandoned that market. Realme is now back with at least two phones that go back to basics.
The latest Realme C25Y and Realme Narzo 30A are an example of how the company’s rediscovered interest in the low-end market. Both phones come with big displays, big batteries, and multiple cameras – which are the key things that customers look for in a smartphone in the low-end market. Not just the specifications, these two phones have the latest software, as well. And all of these things combined mean a good investment for these customers, even though they are unsure about how long the phones will last.
Realme’s phones are mostly reliable and come with an impressive set of features and specifications. But as any other smartphone brand that had just started out would do, Realme dreamt of taking a leap. It took the leap, and within two years, the company proudly boasted of its presence in nearly every price category. That is good for customers – and bad for rivals – but Realme possibly unknowingly abandoned the entry-level market. The company’s budget phones continued to arrive, alongside mid-range and premium phones, but customers who wanted to see an entry-level phone from Realme were disappointed.
Realme’s shift in strategy may have been a result of Xiaomi doing the same. Xiaomi, too, started in India with low-end phones. And when it tried to creep into the premium segment the first time, customers did not show much interest. A lot of that had to do with the perception of these brands that did not go in line with the premium products. And because both Xiaomi and Realme wanted to build their reputation as premium brands, their focus on the low-end market was minimised.
Opportunity for others
The absence of a true entry-level phone on the market gave brands such as Micromax and Lava an opportunity to push their smartphones, which were now a lot better than their older counterparts. Customers were still waiting for a Xiaomi or a Realme phone for that price, but they were not hesitant to go for Micromax or Lava. The anti-China sentiment acted as a catalyst for their growing popularity.
However, Realme knew one thing: the entry-level market is never going to go extinct. As a result, we have two new phones from the company with a set of solid specifications. The launch of these phones came after the company launched phones such as C11 2021, C21Y, and C20. Realme’s realisation is good news for customers, but it will turn out even better only when Realme continues to focus on the low-end market. And that may also nudge Xiaomi a bit to divert some focus to phones that are the cheapest to buy.
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