OnePlus Continues to Lead the Growing Indian Premium Segment for the Second Successive Quarter

According to Counterpoint Research’s latest analysis on the Indian smartphone market, premium smartphone (>INR 30,000/US$400) shipments reached an all-time third-quarter peak during Q3 2018. This was due to attractive offers lowering the cost of ownership for a premium smartphone. Typical offers include trade-ins and buybacks, monthly 0% EMI (monthly installment plans) and instant cashbacks.

These offers strongly appeal to large sections of the population, especially the youth, that are gaining their footing financially and growing into power smartphone users. Furthermore, the features in premium segment smartphones such as full-screen displays, biometric security, dual-cameras, faster processors and support for artificial intelligence, have acted as a catalyst for consumers looking to upgrade from mid-segment smartphones.

Market Summary:

  • The top three brands, Samsung, OnePlus and Apple contributed to 83% of the overall premium market as compared to 88% a quarter ago.
  • This is due to the entry of new players in the segment led by Vivo (Nex), OPPO (FindX), Huawei (Nova 3), Asus (Zenfone 5Z), LG (G7+ ThinQ)
  • OnePlus led the premium smartphone segment for the second successive quarter, capturing 30% of the market driven by the strong performance of its OnePlus 6. Positive word of mouth along with an effective social media strategy has helped OnePlus in targeting a new user base.
  • OnePlus 6 became the highest selling flagship model for OnePlus within five months of its launch.
  • OnePlus continues to increase its points of sale by launching its offline and exclusive stores across key cities. This has helped the brand reach out to a larger potential user base.
  • Samsung captured 28% share of the premium segment. Demand for Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S9 series began to taper-off during the quarter but initial demand for its new Galaxy Note 9, launched in August, was strong. It held on to the number two spot in the premium segment in India driven by its new Galaxy A series and Galaxy Note 9 products.
  • Apple’s share in the premium segment reached 25% during the quarter thanks to the launch of its iPhone XS and XS Max in India. The attractiveness of the new devices is unlikely to offset the impact of high import duties that are applied to iPhones due to the absence of local manufacturing. This has made new iPhones even more expensive in India than they are in other key countries.

India Premium Smartphone Segment Market Share Q3 - 2018

Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly India Market Analysis September 2018

  • The growing spending power of the population coupled with competition among distribution channels is driving down the cost of ownership through a range of promotional offers. Cashback and EMI offers remain popular for premium smartphones across various channels.
  • In terms of best-selling models, OnePlus 6 remains the best-selling model in the premium segment followed by the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy A8 Star.

Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly India Market Analysis September 2018

Tarun is a Research Director with Counterpoint Technology Market Research, based out of Gurgaon (near New Delhi). Tarun has 10 years of work experience with a key focus on the evolving mobile device ecosystem with specialties in Emerging Markets. He understands specific mobile industry nuances, helping clients to navigate through the rapidly changing technological trends. As a Telecom Analyst he has been quoted extensively by the leading media platforms. Tarun holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management, specializing in International Business from the Amity International Business School and is a graduate in Physical Sciences from Jammu University, Jammu in the northern Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.

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