OnePlus, a Chinese smartphone brand, has become the new number one player in the Indian premium phone market, which had been dominated by Samsung Electronics and Apple. Samsung Electronics, which has been competing for first place in the Indian smartphone market with Xiaomi of China, is now facing a situation to compete with Xiaomi in the budget smartphone market and OnePlus in the premium smartphone market.
According to Counterpoint Research, a global market research company, on September 19, OnePlus held 40% of the Indian premium smartphone market in the second quarter of the year, outstripping Samsung Electronics. In India, smartphones costing US$400 or higher are classified as premium models. The premium market accounts for only 5% of the whole Indian smartphone market but it has been rapidly growing. For example, the premium market has grown about 27% from last year.
OnePlus' premium model, the OnePlus 6, was also the best-selling premium phone, accounting for about 30% of premium phone sales in the second quarter. OnePlus is a subsidiary of the BBK Group which has Oppo and Vivo as subsidiaries. While Oppo and Vivo focuses on selling budget smartphones through off-line sales, OnePlus is employing strategy to sell premium products via online channels.
OnePlus sold its mid to low-priced products US$ 400 or lower in India in 2016 but has enjoyed a sharp rise in sales while changing them into mainly US$400 to US$600 models since last year.
"Our analysis found that even though Samsung Electronics' products were especially strong in the US$400 to US$600 range, but a rise in prices of Samsung's premium phones brought reflective benefits to OnePlus,” Counterpoint Research said.
However, it was found that Samsung's share eclipsed that of OnePlus in the Indian premium phone market in the first half of this year as Samsung and OnePlus recorded 37% and 27% market shares, respectively in the period.