Google’s Android One has hit a roadblock in India. The initial batch of Android One phones launched in India by Google earlier this year failed to set the sales chart on fire, even though they offered extreme value for money.
One of the reasons for their not so great start was the devices being available only on online retailers like Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon. Google had announced that it would be selling the Android One devices through brick and mortar stores by the end of October. However, that never happened and according to Economic Times, all the leading retailers in India have refused to carry Android One smartphones in their stores. The list of retailers includes biggies like Future Group, Croma, Sangeetha Mobiles and Planet M, who operatore more than 1,800 stores worldwide.
“Since Android One decided not to sell in physical stores during its launch, we as part of modern trade, have decided not to stock Android One either,” said Sangeetha Mobiles MD Subhash Chandra.
According to the CEO of another top retailer, the company does not want to stock Android One devices because the margin offered on them was only 3-4% compared to the industry average of 9-10%.
While two major chains in India — The Mobile Store and UniverCell — have stocked Karbonn’s Android One handset, the sales of the device has not exactly set the cash registers ringing. If the demand for the handset does not pick up in the coming 2-3 weeks, it will not be stocking other Android One handsets from Spice and Micromax.
However, even the limited offline availability has helped in boosting the sales of Android One. Spice has sold nearly 100,000 units of its Android One smartphone with nearly 80% of the sale coming from brick and mortar stores. On the other hand, Karbonn estimates an average daily sale of 3000 units from retail stores with a measly 500 units being sold online everyday.
Google intends to launch more smartphones under its Android One brand in India from other OEMs like Intel and ASUS, which should help in boosting the brand’s popularity and creating consumer awareness about it.