india's premium smartphone market

India, which is the world’s second-biggest smartphone market, has finally witnessed a double-digit growth in Q2 2018, after flat first-quarter growth. After the flat YoY and 13% QoQ decline in Q1 2018, the premium smartphone segment – more than Rs. 30,000 – has also returned to double-digit growth, both on a year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter basis. According to the latest report by Counterpoint Research, India’s premium smartphone market segment grew 19% YoY and 10% QoQ in Q2 2018.

However, the top three smartphone brands in the premium segment – OnePlus, Samsung and Apple – who captured 95% of the market in Q1 2018, faced the heat from the emerging and new entrants. Consequently, the combined market share of those three brands declined to 88% in Q2 2018.

The increasing demand for premium smartphones was due to more availability of offers such as Cashback, Exchange Offers, Trade-ins, Data bundling and EMI. It has made newly launched premium smartphones more affordable for larger masses as compared to a year ago.

India’s Premium Smartphone Market: OnePlus Emerges As King

india's premium smartphone market share Q2 2018

In an interesting turn of events, the OnePlus performed better than the two smartphone giants, Samsung and Apple, known for dominating the premium segment for long. This is quite impressive as OnePlus just has one flagship model launched this year, OnePlus 6. Since Q3 2017, OnePlus has consistently been occupying the second spot in the list of top premium brands in India. However, it is the first time in Q2 2018, when OnePlus finally succeeded to surpass Samsung and Apple, capturing 40% of India’s premium smartphone market.

It is important to note that in just 3 months, the premium segment share of OnePlus has increased from 25% to 40%. This also makes the Chinese manufacturer the fastest growing premium smartphone brand (+446% YoY) in India.

The leader by the worldwide smartphone shipments, Samsung has accounted for the one-third of the total premium smartphone market in Q2 2018. Surprisingly, in just three months, Samsung’s share in India’s premium smartphone market has dropped from 50% to 34%. The South Korean smartphone giant encountered a 25% YoY decline in shipments owing to a decrease in the demands for its Galaxy S9, as compared to S8 last year.

Apple, once ruling India’s premium smartphone segment, now holds only 14% – the lowest ever. This was due to the low demand of iPhone 8 and iPhone X, because of seasonality and changes in pricing due to duty increase.

Some new entrants in India’s premium smartphone market, such as Huawei (P20), Vivo (X21), Nokia HMD (Nokia 8 Sirocco) and LG (V30 Plus), have also grabbed users’ attention.

India’s Top Premium Smartphones In Q2 2018

top premium smartphones in india

OnePlus owes its success to its latest flagship model OnePlus 6. On May 21, the device went on sale for Amazon Prime and OnePlus Community members. Surprisingly, in the first ten minutes of OnePlus 6 sale in India, it managed to garner sales worth Rs. 100 crores.

OnePlus 6 emerged as the best-selling model in the premium segment in Q2 2018, followed by Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and OnePlus 5T.

India, which is one of the biggest markets for OnePlus, is contributing to almost a third of its total global revenue. Out of top 3 best-selling premium smartphones in India, two are from OnePlus.

OnePlus 5T received a great push from the brand in a bid to clear off inventory in the anticipation of Oneplus 6 launch. As a result, the sales of Oneplus 5T were high during the first half of Q2 2018. Soon after the launch of Oneplus 6, the company declared Oneplus 5T going end of life.

How OnePlus Managed To Beat Two Giants In Just One Quarter?

OnePlus has used a totally different marketing strategy to sell its smartphones and it has paid off. The brand has been strengthening its presence in the market by launching offline and exclusive stores across major cities in India and reaching to audiences of different segments as well. The strategy has paid off well, so far.

This will help the company to expand its sales in the upcoming quarters too as the share of premium smartphone market in India is expected to swell in the upcoming quarters as compared to the overall smartphone market.

The smartphone market in India is dynamic and different market than the US and Europe. Smartphone users in India are graduating and looking for feature-rich premium smartphones. However, the trend is also observed by other players, likes of Vivo and Oppo, who have dominated the entry and mid-segment smartphone market in India. As smartphone users in India are quite priced sensitive, these players are trying to employing the same strategy to grab a lion’s share of premium smartphone market in India. How far will the strategy pay off, especially when Apple and Samsung would prove to be a tough nut to crack, only time will tell? Hence, the upcoming quarter may have even more interesting stats for us.

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