1.7 million IPhones were sold in India in 2018. This unimpressive number is made worse by the fact that it means that Apple’s sales dropped by 50% as they had sold 3.2 million phones in 2017. A huge reason for the steady decline in the sales is most consumer’s preference for a relative newcomer, OnePlus. This brand has been gaining more customers with every flagship launch, with its net revenue growing from 37 Crore in 2016-17 to 150 Crore in 2018. Furthermore, the brand had captured 48% of India’s smartphone market by the first half of 2018. But what makes OnePlus such a huge hit in India?
One cannot dispute the fact that this brand entered India at just the right time. In 2014, most of the premium smartphone market (that is, smartphones that cost over 30,000 INR) was made of Apple, Samsung, and LG. Smartphones in the affordable bracket were ones with fewer features and flimsy build. And even though consumers at the time were ready to pay less for average quality, there was a strong desire for high-end features at affordable rates. Most flagship OnePlus models are priced at just over 30,000, which means that the pricing is one that nestles between the exorbitant costs of an iPhone and the budget friendly costs of – at the time – Lava and Micromax.
Within this price, OnePlus has consistently offered features that have impressed not only the average consumers, but also hard core tech gurus and reviewers. Some features have also surpassed those of other phones offered at a higher price.
When the first OnePlus was launched, customers needed an exclusive invite to be able to purchase the phone. As a result, this built up a high-end aura around the phone and drove many tech fanatics into a frenzy. Shortly after the OnePlus released, the OnePlus 2 was launched and it followed the same suite, which only added to its hype. Now, these phones are available to consumers who do not have invites as well.
OnePlus has largely followed the e-commerce route when it comes to its sales. The company had partnered with Amazon in order to facilitate its exclusive invite-only sales, and continues to make its products available on the website. Soon after, once the popularity of the brand grew, it was also available at most brick-and-mortar stores like Croma. It has also now opened its own offline stores in India as well.
Focus on the Flagship
By maintaining a strong focus on releasing a great flagship every year, OnePlus has prevented itself from having a finger in too many jars and spreading its resources too thin. They are able to offer a product that not only meets consumer expectations, but also brings something new to the table with each upgrade. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why the brand has such a loyal following. Most consumers who own any OnePlus model are happy to upgrade to another model by the same brand the next year. While we’ve seen this kind of fan following in those who love Apple phones too, the latter is a brand that has been accused of pushing upgrades for the sake of it. Recently, Apple was also involved in a controversy regarding pushing battery upgrades that were not compatible with older phone models and forced employees to buy a newer model. OnePlus, on the other hand, has a more consumer centric approach with respect to their design and functionality, and aspire to maintain the same in the future too. After all, if it isn’t broke, why should you fix it?
Word of Mouth
In terms of marketing, OnePlus has largely relied on word of mouth in an effort to cut costs and increase profits. This has worked really well for them however, with the launch of OnePlus 6, the company launched a campaign with Amitabh Bachchan, one of the biggest superstars in India. So, they understand when to hold back, and when to come out with the guns blaring. While word of mouth strategies suited them when the brand was still growing into the Indian market, now is the time to invest in marketing in order to ensure continued scalability.
If you’re wondering why OnePlus is such a hit in India, the answer is simple – they offer high-end features at rates that the average consumer can afford without breaking the bank. Their build is sturdy, the display is sharp, and the camera has emerged to be one of the best in its segment. Furthermore, they use fast processors and also provide a battery size that is good enough to last the day. With all this, there’s no secret by OnePlus has become the top selling phone in India.