Notwithstanding the surge in inflation which is pinching the consumers’ pockets, Chinese smartphone maker Realme, is exploring entry into two to three new categories in the consumer durables space. In an exclusive interaction with BusinessLine, Madhav Sheth, President, Realme International Business Group, said the company will enter two to three new categories in the consumer durables space next year. “Realme has a presence in five categories, which are in line with our core competencies, and include audio, wearables, laptops and television. However, we are also conducting product tests in air-conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators etc,” he said.

On the mode of entry, Sheth said the company would explore potential partnerships, “Its not about fighting with the conventional brand, it is about bringing in innovation and smartness into that particular device, how it connects to the hub which is the smartphone.” Sheth further added that in the age of connected homes, “Realme has the advantage, we have the smartphone which is the hub which controls home, for them (conventional consumer durable brands) they have the expertise which is the advantage they are bringing to their category.”

Sheth said since the onset of Russia-Ukraine war, the company saw marked stagnation in smartphone purchases, as inflation pinches consumer’s pockets. This is in line with industry reports, which note that smartphone replacement cycles are being delayed and smartphone companies are reporting reduced sales.

New products

Preparing for the festival season, Sheth said consumer demand is likely to recover in the upcoming festival season, as the company doubles down on product differentiation and design. Realme will launch atleast four new products, which include a 5G smartphone in the ₹10,000-15,000 category, a much needed addition especially ahead of India’s 5G rollout expected to happen in the second half of 2022.  At present, according to Sheth, all Realme’s smartphones are 5G enabled and with a price of over ₹15,000. Sheth expects the company to be able to match its last year’s festival season sales.

Realme, which provides smartphones starting from ₹6,999, will continue to maintain presence in the sub ₹10,000 category, especially as the supply chain pressures ease.