As expected, the Le 1s — without doubt the most value for money handset in India — sold out in almost the blink of an eye during its first flash sale on Flipkart.
LeEco had put up 70,000 units of the phone on sale.
“70,000 Le 1s sold out in 2 secs!! Thank U #SuperFans for the record! 2nd Flash Sale on 9th Feb. Registrations start at 6PM today,” the company said.
The company priced the phone below cost, trying to replant its subsidy model from China to India. However, it remains to be seen how successful LeEco will be in its second market.
The phone costs around Rs 16,000 in terms of cost of materials, shipping, taxes and so on. As such, it was expected to be priced at around Rs 17,000.
But the company shocked competitors by pricing it at just Rs 10,990.
And today’s news that it had put up 70,000 units should come as a second shock as it shows how serious the brand is about India.
Xiaomi, which made a similar big bang entry into India two years ago by pricing its Mi3 below cost, was selling only around 10,000 units per week.
Ultimately, Xiaomi simply couldn’t match the extreme demand seen for its first model and had to stop the sales even before everyone had a chance to buy one.
LeEco’s plans seem to be more ambitious, going by the 70,000 number that they put up in the first sale.
The biggest ‘flash seller’ in India is Lenovo. The company typically puts up 50,000-70,000 per week when it conducts similar sales for its smartphones.
The LeEco Le 1s has nearly everything you could wish for in a phone priced at less than Rs 20,000 — at half the price.
The phone comes with a 5.5-inch, full-HD display, a fingerprint scanner, 3 GB of RAM and a powerful MediaTek Helio X10 processor.
The total online demand for the phone at present is expected to be around 1 million, which means that it will take at least two months for the company to meet it. Depending on initial reviews, demand will go up or down.
The success of the 1s is likely to hit the prospects of Lenovo’s K4 Note and Vibe X3 in India. Reliance Jio’s LYF brand of phones will also face extreme competition due to the success of Le 1s.
However, one advantage that LYF models have over the 1s is that they support VoLTE or 4G voice calls, while the Helio X10 platform does not.
MediaTek recently announced its Helio X12 platform that will support VoLTE and integrated VoIP (VoWiFi). However, phones built around the chipset will take 2-3 months to come to India.
Another upcoming competitor in this area is the upcoming Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (India version), which will also support VoLTE. The phone has a more powerful processor as well.
The RedMi Note 3 is expected to be priced around Rs 17,000 for the 32 GB version, and like the 1s, does not support an external MicroSD card.
That said, by putting up 70,000 units for sale in the first flash sale, LeEco has really shown that it is in India with a serious business plan, and competitors like Yu Televentures and Lenovo have to take notice.