OnePlus is getting bigger and bigger in India, as Samsung and Apple lose steam

OnePlus is getting bigger and bigger in India, as Samsung and Apple lose steam
OnePlus is a very unconventional smartphone manufacturer, generating far more buzz than a lot of mobile industry veterans nowadays, including through unorthodox publicity stunts, while settling for just two hardware upgrades a year.

The company doesn’t appear to be targeting either massive sales volumes or hefty profit margins, charging reasonable prices for high-end products, and discontinuing old flagships when new ones are released.

Believe it or not, this highly unusual strategy seems to be working great in at least one paramount market, where OnePlus has become the leader of “premium” smartphone shipments. Samsung, which managed to (narrowly) beat Xiaomi for first place overall in India during Q2 2018, could only capture a 34 percent share of the nation’s premium segment in the same April – June timeframe, after a big 25 percent decline in shipments caused largely by the Galaxy S9’s failure to connect with audiences at a similar level as the S8 duo.

OnePlus swooped in and snatched the regional crown, with a 40 percent slice of the “premium” pie, as the 5T went out in a blaze of glory, and the OnePlus 6 quickly rose to the top. That’s right, the OP6 was the number one best-selling high-end smartphone in India this past quarter, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus, and the OnePlus 5T in third place.

All in all, OnePlus posted a 446 percent (!!!) year-on-year growth in India’s premium smartphone sector, while Apple reached its lowest ever share of 14 percent, as iPhone X and 8 demand slipped due to “seasonality and challenges in terms of pricing post duty increase.”

Huawei, Vivo, Nokia, and LG managed to make some waves with the P20, X21, 8 Sirocco, and V30 Plus, but at the end of the day, OnePlus, Samsung and Apple accounted for a combined total of 88 percent of premium smartphone sales in India between April and June 2018.

source: Counterpoint Research

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15 Comments

1. NateDiaz

Posts: 1082; Member since: Mar 03, 2018

As per current exchange rates, OnePlus 6 sells for 435 euros and S9 sells for 720 euros in India. How do they both fall in premium segment? OnePlus 6 should be called a mid range phone with flagships specs but Counterpoint Research source says anything over 373 euros is a premium device in India.

2. IT-Engineer

Posts: 497; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

It is located in the premium segment since it has premium hardware.

4. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5483; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

Since Counterpoint defines the premium segment by price: (the premium smartphone segment (>INR 30,000). The quality of the hardware is totally irrelevant.

6. IT-Engineer

Posts: 497; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Yes and that's wrong, cause the price should never define wether this is a good product or not, it should be the quality. And unfortunately, you see brands like Samsung and Apple who many times over have bad quality hardware but premium price. So therefor it should never be price based.

14. Boast_Rider

Posts: 531; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

RebelwithoutaCause is right. You can't factually define segments of market based on how good a phone is, since it's subjective. I don't agree exactly by counting ₹ 30000+ as premium justifies it, but it's the easiest and pretty good enough. This is premium market segment, the phone might not be premium anymore. Case in point, the iPhone 6s, which qualifies to be called in the premium segment in India, but it's a low end phone at best today. It's premium by price, not by quality.

3. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5483; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

373 Euro is relatively a lot more to someone from India than let's say the Netherlands.

13. Boast_Rider

Posts: 531; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

435 euros is 3-4 months rent in a tier-1 city in India, for a pretty good apartment. That's premium tier. S9+ and iPhone X are just ungodly expensive. I can pay almost a year's rent instead of buying an iPhone X. No wonder they don't sell.

5. Papa_Ji

Posts: 776; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Vivi NEX and OPPO Find X are now available in India. Apple will be even under 5% in coming Q3. Who will buy a handicaft mid ranger for 1000$. Probably a FOOL or US people.

7. Be_Mine

Posts: 197; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

Surprisingly... I still see quite a number of people still do here in my place. (New Delhi, India) Like few of my friends who could not afford the current flagship but would still buy an older iPhone models(5,5s,6,6s) just for the sake of owning an iPhone. And almost everyone of them doesn't know/care what hardware or which version of iOS it runs.

8. mahima

Posts: 714; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

and sadly when iphone user knows i need to buy new phone...they always assume i want an iphone...lol i always tell them iphone will be considered when they have at least dual sim version...!

15. Boast_Rider

Posts: 531; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

I'm noticing quite the opposite trend in Bangalore, with a LOT of people shifting to OnePlus. I know a couple multi-millionaires( net worth 100+ crore INR) using Oneplus phones even though they can buy 100 iPhone Xs without breaking the bank. Most of the people I know who are actually in the 1% are opting for Oneplus, since there is no point paying 3x as much and getting a half-assed iPhone experience . Apple maps, siri doesn't work in India properly and there are no Apple stores, so service sucks too. Not to mention that iMessage isn't that popular in India, which is the major reason people buy iPhone in the states. Most of the people who are buying iPhones are low or middle-class people who want to show-off the Apple logo and either buy it on EMI or get an older one.

10. Papa_Ji

Posts: 776; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

*vivo

9. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

There is honestly no need to buy a high end phone in india when phones like the redmi note 5 already offering near flagship experience

11. Be_Mine

Posts: 197; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

The Pro Version are very hard to get though. Flash Sale suck.

12. tokuzumi

Posts: 1795; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

OnePlus is becoming the company to beat. They had issues with their first two phones, with the poorly thought out lottery system. But they have resolved that beginning with the OnePlus 3. Their phones have increased in price significantly over the years, but the compromises between the OnePlus phones compared to other flagships are rapidly disappearing. I hope the other manufacturers are taking notice.

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