OnePlus is now the flagship king in one important market

OnePlus is now the flagship king in one important market
OnePlus started out as the flagship killer. Phones with top specs that cost a fraction of the price of flagship phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S series. Over time, that fraction started inching closer and closer to 1 as OnePlus phones kept getting pricier.

That wasn’t unjustified, however, OnePlus keeps offering more and pushing the envelope, especially in terms of performance. And it seems the company’s efforts are slowly paying off. While in the States the brand has had official carrier support for a while now, it’s still nowhere near mainstream. The average user is still unfamiliar with it and opts to go with the known Galaxy phone given the choice.

 That’s not the case in India, however, the world’s second-largest smartphone market. Counterpoint Research released its latest data on the Indian market today and it shows 2019 was a volatile year for smartphone makers there.


OnePlus shipments grew an impressive 28% year-on-year and the company now holds a third of India’s premium smartphone segment. Counterpoint notes that a big reason for the uptick in sales is “strong word-of-mouth”, which means existing OnePlus users are recommending the brand left and right.

OnePlus getting the top spot was made easier by Samsung’s dip in 2019. Chunks of Samsung’s market share were taken away by the strong competition in the face of Oppo, Asus and Xiaomi. Chinese brands are known for their aggressive pricing which matters a lot in markets such as India.

And if you think that OnePlus is on top just because Apple doesn’t make an effort in India, you’d be very wrong. Cupertino is ramping up the production of iPhones in the country which gives it leeway when it comes to pricing. Thanks to price cuts on the iPhone XR and the lower starting price of the iPhone 11, Apple grew 41% YoY in 2019.

That trend is expected to remain in 2020, so by the end of the year, things might look very different. The iPhone 9 is allegedly around the corner and with a rumored price tag of around $399, it will undoubtedly sell by the millions in India.
 

FEATURED VIDEO

12 Comments

7. skyline88

Posts: 702; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

not only India but similar situation in my country too. OnePlus is gaining a solid position way above Samsung and Apple, and it is only a fraction behind Huawei, Vivo and Oppo. Sony, Asus and Lenovo are all dead here, Samsung will be joining them pretty soon.

9. DFranch

Posts: 569; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

With the Minimum price of the S20 rumored to be $1000 US, Oneplus should continue to do well. I just wish they weren't adopting the punchhole front camera on the 8 series.

4. smallworld

Posts: 535; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

That's because of the price. Most Indians don't have the money for a Samsung or Apple flagship. Nothing surprising.

5. ZEUS.the.thunder.god

Posts: 1191; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

That's a very stupid assumption. Every single phone sold in India is bought outright, at a full retail price and without any subsidies. If anything, Indians spent more money while making the purchase. Now as far as OnePlus taking the top spot is concerned, I think that won't last in the long term. Their prices are increasing and, cost to feature ratio isn't the same as it used to be. I can already see Samsung getting back to the top spot by the end of the year, and even Apple doing well.

6. smallworld

Posts: 535; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

It's not stupid it's facts.

11. djinn911

Posts: 23; Member since: Jun 25, 2014

Just like your name, you live in a small world with very little facts right. Zeus was right with his first sentence but I disagree with his comment about OnePlus keeping its position. While OnePlus devices are getting expensive, Samsung and other known tier manufacturers are increasing their prices exorbitantly. OnePlus still has to be careful though, especially from the likes of RealMe, Xiaomi and Vivo but they always played a tier lower than OnePlus. I recently visited India and I could see the momentum OnePlus has in the country right now and that's only based on its performance and the words of existing userbase.

14. smallworld

Posts: 535; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

You're just denying it out of pride but all the economic indicators show that most off the population does NOT have the means to buy such expensive products, whether in full or installments. India's GDP per capital is only $2000, the price of a Galaxy Fold. In comparison the GDP per capita in a country like Germany is $44,000. You see the difference? Indian people have to rely on less expensive phone like Realme, Redmi, Poco, OnePlus etc. And as I said Samsung and Apple flagships are out of each for most of the population. Only a minority can afford them.

12. Reviewerofstuff

Posts: 137; Member since: Jun 02, 2018

It really isn't an assumption. India is a poverty riddled country and while that may be hard to swallow. It's, unfortunately, a fact. Indians buy cheaper phones because they don't have as high salaries, it makes sense. Oneplus will remain at the top of the high - end smartphone business in my opinion. They won't go exorbitant with the price anytime soon. Samsung definitely won't rise back if the s20 is actually 1,000. 1,200, and 1,400. You just seem like a oneplus hater, your agruments aren't backed up by facts.

15. smallworld

Posts: 535; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

So you think there aren't people buying unsubsidized phones in Europe? Educate yourself pls.

13. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1291; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Ignorance is BLISS, dear smallworld. All the phones sold in India is sold outright and iPhones are sold with 20 to 30% extra cost (due to import duty) than US Prices. U said "People don't have money" --- Is it correct to say that all those Americans who don't buy flagship phones outright (guess how much % of total sales) are also NOT having money, then??

3. meanestgenius

Posts: 23079; Member since: May 28, 2014

Great news for OnePlus, being at the top of the Premium smartphone market in India. OnePlus offers a great product packed with features, at a competitive price. And a midrange OnePlus smartphone will undoubtedly sell well in India, as well as China, and may even give OnePlus a push in the U.S. since the price will be more palatable for consumers that aren’t aware of the brand. But marketing will key in the U.S.

10. Feanor

Posts: 1449; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

We may fiercely disagree about Huawei but we agree on OnePlus. It's really doing well. OnePlus 8 Pro should be my next phone, unless next Sony flagship lures me with better styling.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless