India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had released a notification this week allowing e-commerce portals to ply their goods vehicles starting April 20. Following that order, a new update came yesterday which could open online sales of electronics items such as smartphones, TVs, and other gadgets in the country. Hence, smartphones companies like Xiaomi, Realme and Vivo have already started negotiations with their respective e-commerce partners to start online phone sales.
The first Home Ministry order came on Tuesday and it eased norms allowing cargo (trains, trucks, e-commerce vehicles) to move across states with “necessary permission”. There was mention of essential goods – food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The guidelines released on Wednesday are devoid of any such classification of essential and non-essential items raising some confusion among online retailers.
Realme, in particular, looks confident to start phone sales from April 20, as per a statement by CEO Madhav Sheth.
“We are currently discussing the details with all our partners and evaluating. We will be able to share an update at a later stage on receiving complete clarity” a Xiaomi spokesperson said.
Analysts like IDC and Counterpoint predict that e-Commerce platforms stand to benefit from the opening of the sector as brick-and-mortar retail continues to be shut for sale of non-essential products. They say initial demand will be less and attract only users who have needs owing to defects and repairs but the demand may pick up from late May and June.