Mobile retailers’ body accuses online platforms of “jeopardising” their business

A leading mobile retailers’ body has claimed that “unethical and monopolistic business practices” of online sales platforms are “jeopardising” the future of 1.5 lakh brick-and-mortar smartphone retailers across the country and that it will seek government’s intervention. 

In such a situation, the survival of small retailers is at stake, the All India Mobile Retailers’ Association (AIMRA), an apex body of smartphone retailers, has said. “The situation is extremely fragile due to the unethical, discriminatory and monopolistic business practices by online sales platforms. Several shops are closed, and now retailers are even taking an extreme step, like suicide. 

“We will approach the government with a charter of demands to ensure the protection of over 1,50,000 mobile phone retailers across the country who are struggling to compete with the tech giants and unethical business practices by many online sales channels and portals,” AIMRA West Bengal President Mohan Bajoria told the PTI on Friday. 

The association will hold a two-day AGM from April 16 in the city to work out a counter-strategy and action plan for survival. 

“The $38-billion Indian smartphone market is the biggest and fastest-growing mobile phone market in the world. Some of the top global mobile phone brands have registered their highest shipments to India in 2021. Due to the fallout of the COVID impact, the online platform currently accounts for 50 per cent of the smartphone sales in India,” Mr Bajoria said. 

The GST regime, he said, remained a matter of concern for small mobile retailers, who find it complicated and not conducive for doing business. 

“A new discriminatory environment has emerged in India where big players flout norms with impunity, thus threatening small retailers. The government must step in to ensure transparency in business operations,” AIMRA State General Secretary Mridul Biswas said.

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