OnePlus forcing retailers to sell phones offline despite rising coronavirus cases: report

Highlights
  • E-commerce platforms have contributed around 45 percent smartphone sales in India during the April-June quarter
  • OnePlus allowed retailers to sell online their online platform back in March when the pandemic started
  • Offline retailers’ association AIMRA has appealed to OnePlus to reconsider its decision 

OnePlus allowed offline retailers to sell its products through online platforms back in March when the coronavirus pandemic started. However, it has now reportedly sent an email to smartphone retail stores across the country last week to stop all online sales of its smartphones. Post this email, the All India Mobile Retailer’s Association (AIMRA) approached the company to allow them to sell its phones online. The executives of the association said that if OnePlus doesn’t allow them to sell online now that the shopping trend has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they would approach the Centre and eventually boycott the brand. According to Counterpoint Research, e-commerce platforms have contributed to around 45 percent smartphone sales in India during the April-May-June quarter.

A spokesperson for OnePlus said, “We value our relationship with our offline retail partners and attribute our partnership with them for the success in the Indian market. We are continuously and consistently working with them to strengthen this relation, and maintain a healthy stock supply aligned with the market dynamics.”

AIMRA president, Arvinder Khurana mentioned that when COVID-19 cases in the country are on the rise, consumers would be inclining towards online purchases even if they are from offline stores. “We have requested OnePlus to roll back its decision to stop offline stores from online sales. They had allowed offline to sell online during the start of the pandemic. If they don’t agree, we will approach the Centre,” Khurana added.

OnePlus

The AIMRA letter to OnePlus said, “As customers are scared to come to the shops due to the dangerous pandemic, this decision is like adding fuel to the fire. Please consider and allow us to sell the products via our online platforms. Also, the company’s thought process of offering products exclusively to an online partner at first and then to all our retail chains is hugely an injustice. Mobile phone buying is quite impulsive in nature and interested consumers wanted to buy it instantly, the moment it’s launched. The same when we get after a gap of 10 to 15 days attracts very less traction, hence a big opportunity loss.”