The premium smartphones segment in India was dominated by top players like Samsung and Apple, until Q2 of 2018 that is, where OnePlus has now taken the lead and jumped from a paltry 8.8% market share during the same time last year, to an impressive 40.5% share during the April-June tenure this year, according to the analyst firm, Counterpoint Research. Though OnePlus did experience a statutory growth last year with booming sales of the OnePlus 5 and 5T, a spot at the top of the table comes as a first for the company.
It is for the first time that a Chinese OEM focused on selling smartphones online has achieved this feat. For years now, Samsung and Apple occupied the first two slots with the former enjoying a 54.3% market share last year while the latter was sitting pretty at 29.6%. The surge in market share comes at a time when OnePlus launched a new smartphone, the OnePlus 6, and also at a time when the brand is expanding in terms of offline presence as well by inaugurating multiple offline experience stores for consumers to have a look at the devices and then make an informed purchase.
The sudden surge comes as a warning to top-tier brands to not take the Chinese manufacturer lightly as more and more consumers are looking for the best bang for the buck smartphones instead of a more expensive one from a tier one brand. The significance of this change can also be credited to Apple’s poor sales due to a change in their sales strategy which hampered discounts and price drops of iPhones which we generally see over time.
Brands like OnePlus, Huawei and even Asus of late have been offering great value for money with their smartphones in the sub 35-40k segment, which might make consumers think twice before spending a fortune on smartphones from tier one brands who offer similar specifications, but a superior brand value and after-sales support. The change in market fortunes shows that the premium users in India aren’t afraid anymore to experiment with newer brands.
If we talk about the overall market share, Samsung sits at the top with 31.2% while Xiaomi is not too far off with 21.9% followed by Oppo and Vivo, while OnePlus is on the fifth position with an overall market share of 4%. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as both Samsung and Xiaomi have a host of smartphones priced under Rs. 15,000 which seems to be the sweet spot when it comes to selling smartphones in India. Another important thing to note here is that the premium smartphone segment in India includes all phones priced upwards of Rs 30,000 (~$450). Brands like Samsung and Apple have a presence even in “Super premium” segment (Rs 50,000+) which OnePlus hasn’t explored yet.