5G was a key selling point in the high-end category in a market where 5G connectivity is unheard of

5G was a key selling point in the high-end category in a market where 5G connectivity is unheard of
OnePlus ruled the premium smartphone market in India in Q2 2020, thanks to robust sales of the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 7 series, according to Counterpoint Research.

The premium category, which consists of phones that cost more than $400, shrank 32 percent when compared to the year-ago quarter because of the pandemic. Still, the segment accounted for 4 percent of total shipments in India.

With a market share of 29 percent, OnePlus dethroned Samsung to become the brand of choice for consumers looking for premium handsets. The OnePlus 8 made up 19 percent of the shipments and the reduced price of the OnePlus 7T also helped the company boost sales.

The Vivo V19 emerged as the second best selling premium phone, with a share of 15 percent.

Samsung closely trailed behind with a share of just under 29 percent. The Galaxy A71 emerged as the third most popular phone in the category, driving 12 percent of the sales. 

Apple slipped to the third position because of increasing competition from Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo. The iPhone SE 2020 and the iPhone 11 were the fourth and fifth most sought after devices, with a share of 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Now that the iPhone 11 is being manufactured locally, it could lead to a domestic price cut and this would stimulate demand further. 

Apple still leads the ultra-premium market

Apple sold the most phones in the ultra-premium segment, which consists of devices that have a retail price of more than $600. The iPhone 11 was the most favored phone in the category during the quarter. Overall, the Cupertino based company contributed to 42 percent of the sales in the segment. 

Samsung had the second spot, thanks to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The company was able to drive up demand by discounting its flagship phones and launching initiatives such as Samsung Care Plus.

OnePlus grabbed the third position, and this could be largely credited to the OnePlus 8 Pro.

5G has become a key selling point in India when it comes to flagships, which is kind of interesting as 5G networks have not been deployed in the country yet. According to an optimistic estimate, carriers will start rolling out 5G networks by the end of the year. So, people might be future proofing their purchases by buying 5G-ready devices. 

On the other hand, 5G is now a default option on many premium phones and thus, popularity of handsets offering the next generation of cellular connectivity might in fact have nothing to do with the wireless standard. 

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