Premium Smartphone Market in India Q3 2018: OnePlus Dominates, But Apple Surprises

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It’s been almost a months since the third quarter ended, various smartphone market analysis reports for the third fiscal quarter are now in. Counterpoint Research has released its quarterly analysis reports, and some of the results are not too dissimilar to those seen in the last quarter. The one constant that stands out is that of the premium smartphone market in India. There, One Plus is crowned as the number one OEM in the premium smartphone market in India for the second consecutive quarter.

Smartphones that are price tagged with $400 (Rs. 30,000) or more are considered as premium smartphones.

OnePlus Rules The Premium Smartphone Market In India

Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus led India’s premium smartphone market with a significant 30% share in Q3 2018. What’s even more impressive is that it is the second consecutive quarter for the company to stay on top.


This is mainly driven by the incredible performance of the OnePlus 6 in the smartphone market. This has led to a lot of users recommending it to other people, which highlights the ability of the phone to compel its users to market OnePlus 6 through word of mouth. Other than that, OnePlus has adopted quite an effective marketing strategy in social media as well. This has helped it reach out to a large tech-savvy audience, thus signifying as to why it is the best selling smartphone OEM in India’s premium smartphone market.

Premium smartphone market in India

But, not everything goes in the favour of OnePlus. The data on premium smartphone market Q3 2018 depicts the losing grip of OnePlus on the market as compared to the previous quarter. The premium segment share of OnePlus has declined from 40% in Q2 2018 to 30% in Q3 2018. That’s a significant 10% point decline in just three months.

Apple Surprises: iPhone In Demand, Again

Samsung comes in at a close second with 28% share of the premium segment. This is mostly due to the performance of their flagship Samsung Galaxy S9 series and Galaxy Note 9. The demand for the Galaxy S9 began to reduce towards the end of the quarter. But, on the other hand, the Galaxy Note 9 has enjoyed quite a lot of attention, and demand, after its launch in August.

But the biggest surprise came in the form of sales of iPhone in India. While OnePlus share decreased and Samsung’s share almost remained flat in Q3, Apple strengthened its market presence in the premium smartphone segment in India.

In Q3 2018, Apple has enjoyed a significant jump in its share of the premium smartphone market in India. Apple accounted for an impressive 25% share of premium smartphone market in India in Q3 2018, up from 14% just a quarter ago. So far its the best performing quarter for Apple this year.


Apple’s market share was deeply driven by the launch of the new iPhone variants, namely the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max in India. And owing to the surprisingly good performance of the two smartphones worldwide, Apple’s 25% shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Even then, Apple could have enjoyed a higher market share in the country had it not been for the high import duties imposed on its iPhones. This occurs due to the absence of local manufacturing of iPhones in the country. The import duties substantially increase the price of a commodity which has astronomical pricing on its own accord.

Performance of Individual Smartphones

The OnePlus 6 remains the most sought-after premium smartphone in the country. It enjoys a market share of 30% on its own. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 comes in at a distant second with a market share of 14%. The third position is also held by Samsung’s Galaxy A8 Star which commands a market share of 5%.

The dominance of the OnePlus 6 in this segment shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. In addition to the reasons listed under the previous sub-heading, there were a lot of offers which boosted its sales as well. Some of them include trade-ins and buybacks, monthly 0% EMI (monthly instalment plans) and instant cashback.

India Premium Smartphone Market: Big 3 Dominate

The top three premium smartphone manufacturers, namely Apple, Samsung and OnePlus, managed to capture a total market share of 83%, combined. However, it is down by 5% point from the last quarter. This is mainly due to the arrival of a lot of new players into the segment. Some of them include Vivo’s Nex, Oppo’s Find X and Huawei’s Nova 3.

The Premium smartphone segment has always been a struggle between Samsung and Apple before the arrival of One Plus. Apple usually dominates the global premium smartphone segment, just like it did in Q2 2018. However, with impressive new Chinese OEMs coming into play, things aren’t as easy as they were for the serial market leaders. They need to up their game if they don’t want to fall down the pecking order in the future. And this just spells good things coming up for the consumer in the future.

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