Flipkart said a 1 lakh people registered on the first day to buy LeTV Le 1s — arguably the only phone in India that comes with a manufacturer subsidy.
The phone, which reportedly costs around Rs 16,000 to make and sell, is priced at Rs 10,999 in India, and has near-flagship specifications.
In terms of specifications, for example, the LeEco (as the company now calls itself) 1s is comparable to the Sony Xperia Z5, which is priced at around Rs 38,000, and the OnePlus Two, priced Rs 24,999 in India.
In fact, the Lenovo K4 Note, which has noticeably inferior specifications compared to the Le 1s, is priced Rs 1,000 higher than this model.
That said, there is still some reluctance on the part of buyers to go in for the 1s for the simple reason that the company is totally new on the scene. Even in China, the home market, LeEco sold its first smartphone only around eight months ago. However, its products have soon risen to the top of the sales charts thanks to the superior specifications when compared Lenovo, Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung models.
India is the second market where the company entered. The company does not depend on hardware sales alone to support itself, and gets revenue from content and app businesses also.
In India too, the company has plans to bring in the whole gamut of its services, including content, sports and music, though it remains to be seen as to how successful it can be in this regard. In China, for example, it has been in the content and online business for around 12 years.
The company said it is working with the ‘lowest margins in the industry’ to ensure that users get the products they want at the cheapest prices.
Before LeEco’s entry, Lenovo was the undisputed king of value in the smartphone market, followed closely by recent startup Yu Televentures.
Both of them are now likely to face a lot of heat, especially if LeEco is actually able to ship millions of phones to India like Lenovo does.
Perhaps as a sign of things to come, the Yu Yutopia, arguably the strongest phone in terms of specifications in the Rs 25,000 price range, was put on ‘open sale’ by Amazon today.
Normally, phones from Lenovo, Yu and Xiaomi are not available on demand, and users have to register and wait for weeks and months to get an opportunity to buy the models.
In fact, a week before LeTV’s launch in India, Lenovo announced that around 2 lakh users from India have registered to buy their K4 Note model in the first 48 hours.
Though registrations for the Le 1s is unlikely to cross that number, it stands to reason that nearly all of those who registered for the 1s could have also registered for the K4.
In other words, LeEco’s gain is Lenovo’s loss.
One factor that favors Lenovo is that the flash sales are already happening, while the first 1s flash sale will only take place on Feb 2. Some people may find the wait too long.
In addition to the mouthwatering price, Flipkart has thrown in a few sweeteners as well.
“Customers registering by January 21 midnight will get a Flipkart Electronic Gift Voucher (EGV) of INR 500 during their purchase of the Le 1S. Additionally, customers can also avail 10% off on purchases made through Axis bank credit and debit cards,” the online sales company said.
Ankit Nagori, Chief Business Officer – Flipkart said, “We have received an overwhelming response for Le1S since its launch yesterday. With over 1 lakh registrations so far, this is a blockbuster beginning for LeEco’s debut in India. This launch had definitely created a lot of buzz among the smartphone enthusiasts and there’s no doubt that this feature-rich and affordable smartphone from the stable of LeEco will be a big hit.”
Another factor that will come into play is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 — which has better specifications compared to the 1s, except perhaps for quick charging, which may not be supported. The phone is set to launch by the end of this month or early February.