Smartphone Premium segment globally saw an 8% decline year on year mainly as Apple shipments fell 20% year on year in Q1 2019, according to Counterpoint. But new to the premium segment, OnePlus is gaining ground. Major reason of the fall in Apple's shipment, Counterpoint says, is the trend of users holding onto their iPhones for longer. The replacement cycle for iPhones has grown to over three years, on an average, from two years.
Enter, Chinese smartphones, that are now freshly entering the premium segment that was mainly ruled by two major players, Apple and Samsung.
Although Apple’s market share fell, Samsung came out stronger in the premium segment. Last year, Samsung launched three devices instead of the usual two in its S series, which helped in covering wider price points and ended up with one-fourth of the global premium segment, its highest ever share over the past year. Not only that Galaxy S10 was one of the most anticipated premium phones and Samsung made substantial design changes in the Galaxy S10 series. The better value proposition the Galaxy S10 series offer compared to high-priced iPhones helped Samsung close the gap to Apple in the global premium segment.
Better value proposition is what seemed to have worked for the Chinese players as well, specially OnePlus. OnePlus made its mark in the premium segment globally post the launch of one of its most popular phones, the OnePlus 6T. And despite the global premium smartphone market declining in the first quarter, OnePlus has managed to gain a foothold in the premium segment. “While we are at the stage where the industry is changing in a rapid pace, we see this as an opportunity for OnePlus to gain ground in the premium smartphone market,” said Pete Lau, CEO, OnePlus. “Our ‘Never Settle’ approach to constantly offer the best technology possible has made us one of the top five premium smartphones and it will continue to help build our user community and increase the brand’s global presence.”
Even with the overall performance of the premium segment, OnePlus smartphone sales increased by 45 percent in 2018. OnePlus also became top-selling smartphone in India after the launch of OnePlus 6T. After from rave reviews from all over, OnePlus has also managed to do well as consumers are looking outside of traditional OEMs and are switching to new devices from newer brands.
It’s certainly a great feat for a six-year-old company that has managed to make a place for itself in the global premium smartphone segment despite lengthening replacement cycles, increased market competition and saturation. But it will be interesting to see how OnePlus will continue to grow in the segment that has always been ruled by the Premium phone OGs, Apple and Samsung.