Xiaomi launches 8 smartphones in 4 days, is this really reasonable?

The beginning of the year is more lively than usual in the smartphone market. Behind the headliners such as the Galaxy S24, Xiaomi is making a mark this year. The Chinese manufacturer is particularly active internationally and notably in France.

As of January 11, its subsidiary Poco launched three new devices, including the X6 Pro which we were able to get our hands on. These mobile phones rely on an effective recipe combining relevant technical elements, efficient design, and attractive launch prices. This pattern also applies to the Redmi Note 13, which Xiaomi officially announced four days later on January 15. This series, known for its value for money, includes five models, starting at 199 euros.

Increasing the references, Xiaomi’s hallmark

The strategy allows Xiaomi to occupy – or rather invade – the entry and mid-range market. The Chinese brand is indeed present in a wide price range, ranging from 200 euros (or rather 150 euros with recurring promotions) to 500 euros.

As can be seen in this table, the brand manages to be omnipresent between 199 and 499 euros:

[Table with Xiaomi/Prix, 199 to 299 €, 299 to 399 €, 399 to 499 €]

Among the 8 new smartphones launched between January 11 and 15, there are 17 different variants! Xiaomi offers 4 models between 199 and 299 euros, 8 between 299 and 399 euros, and 5 between 399 and 499 euros.

This method is far from new for the Chinese manufacturer, as it has been its hallmark for many years. Xiaomi has been churning out models and multiplying references within the same range. The very popular Redmi Note series symbolizes this mode of operation, which is also found in the flagship series. Indeed, Xiaomi is accustomed to three “premium” smartphones like the Xiaomi 13, Xiaomi 13 Pro, and Xiaomi 13 Ultra. The process is reminiscent of that of Samsung or even Apple, but the Chinese brand adds another “T” series at the high end at the end of the year. The latest examples are the Xiaomi 13T and 13T Pro.

La série T, déclinaison des séries chiffrées phares de Xiaomi (ici un Xiaomi 13T Pro, dérivé des Xiaomi 13). © JournalduGeek.com
Once again, we see a desire to “suffocate” the market by commercializing more smartphones than the competition. This also allows Xiaomi to occupy the media landscape, just before or just after the announcement of its rivals.

Why does Xiaomi launch so many smartphones?

Xiaomi relies on three distinct brands to stifle the competition: Xiaomi, Redmi, and POCO. The manufacturer needs to maintain this pace to consolidate its third place globally and get closer to the leading duo. The recent results from IDC highlight the fact that Apple has overtaken Samsung for the first time since 2010, but they also reflect Xiaomi’s good results. The Chinese giant is not progressing like Apple, but its growth only drops by 4.7% in 2023, compared to 13.6% for Samsung.

The South Korean group is Xiaomi’s main competitor on a global scale, especially since the collapse of HUAWEI and the difficulties of OPPO. The battle is mainly between Samsung’s Galaxy A series and Xiaomi’s affordable smartphones in the west. Elsewhere, in places like Asia or Africa, other actors like vivo or the lesser-known Transsion need to be added to the equation.

When Xiaomi takes inspiration from… Samsung

The multiplication of models is therefore a good way to maintain pressure on Samsung. There are indeed similarities between Xiaomi’s strategy and that of the South Korean giant for its Galaxy A range. Numerous variations exist to cover the entry and mid-range, with about ten new models each year.

However, Xiaomi still surprises with its intention to flood the market by unveiling a multitude of smartphones in a very short time. This scheme also helps Xiaomi to keep its compatriots at a good distance, like OPPO in its time and HONOR today. The latter has become an important player again and is seeking to gain market share from Xiaomi, also churning out smartphones worldwide. HONOR, however, is more cautious in the French market, preferring to focus on limited ranges with models like the Magic6 Lite.

The same goes for a brand like OnePlus, while the case of Apple is different. The American group almost exclusively targets the (very) high end, with the iPhone SE being the only model to compete with affordable Android smartphones.

Xiaomi everywhere, understanding nowhere

While one can understand better the interest for Xiaomi to multiply smartphones, this strategy also shows its limits. Having a choice is always an advantage for the buyer, but he/she finds himself/herself inundated with a flood of new references every year. Unless one closely follows the news of the brand or smartphones, it may not be easy to navigate between the Redmi Note 13, the Redmi Note 13 Pro, or the Redmi Note 13 Pro+. Certainly, it is easy to guess that the longer the name, the more features one gains… but it can be quite confusing, especially considering the older models.

Indeed, Xiaomi is the specialist in value for money, and the arrival of a new range pushes to liquidate the previous one. This creates a complex situation where a smartphone launched only a few months ago – and already replaced – could offer a better value for money than a new model.

Manufacturers lose themselves between their promises and the need to sell

Nevertheless, the main concern remains the ecological impact associated with these numerous announcements that encourage renewal. The remark not only targets Xiaomi but the entire sector that still prefers to launch models every year. While flagship models undergo some adjustments, the same cannot always be said for more affordable models. As for Xiaomi, having so many references in its catalog is also a handicap in terms of updates.

The brand does not necessarily have a very clear and common policy for all its models. The flagship models now benefit from four years of major Android updates and five years of security updates. Others are entitled to three years for major updates and four years for security updates. Finally, there are still affordable models with only two years of support.

Once again, Xiaomi is not necessarily the only manufacturer using such a policy on Android. The Redmi Note 13 series will receive three years of Android updates, which is a progression for the range.

With its vast catalog, however, Xiaomi has become the symbol of a market that is derailing and losing itself in its contradictions. Manufacturers promise more durable, better-supported, and more environmentally friendly smartphones, while flooding the market with new models.

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