In India, Apple leads the premium smartphone segment with a 40% market share. This segment accounts for one-fourth of smartphone sales and is predicted to contribute to over five percent of global smartphone revenues by Q2 2022. The segment has a large installed base of premium iPhone users who are also upgrading to the next-generation 5G network. Apple’s sales in the segment increased by 114 percent year-on-year (YoY), and it captured 78 percent of the $1,000+ price segment.
OnePlus comes second after Apple
OnePlus has made a name for itself in India’s premium smartphone market by making an excellent device at a good price. It is now the number-one brand in the affordable premium segment. The company’s phone models cost between Rs 30,000 and Rs 45,000, which roughly translates into $400 and $600. The company’s recent entry in the upper mid-tier segment with the OnePlus Nord series was a successful move, and the brand’s first smartphones were among the top-selling models in the segment.
The success of OnePlus is largely attributed to its strong community and proactive social media interaction. The brand has become more mainstream than Samsung and Apple, which have ruled the premium smartphone market in India for decades.
However, geopolitical issues may prevent OnePlus from ever overtaking these brands in India. As a result, Apple’s hold on the market is set to get even stronger.
Cause of decline
Apple, Samsung, and OnePlus led the premium segment in India in the third quarter of 2019. In India, Apple’s September quarter shipment share was the highest ever, at 5 percent, and the company drove an aggressive channel push ahead of the festive season. Despite the strong performance, the premium smartphone segment is expected to shrink by 11% YoY in the third quarter of 2022.
The decline was largely caused by disruption triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic in April, which resulted in a national lockdown for nearly 40 days. The result was virtually no smartphone shipments in April.
Apple has become the leader in the premium smartphone segment in India, leading the market with a 40% share in Q2 2019. In the previous quarter, the company led with 37% share, followed by Samsung and OnePlus, who captured the rest of the premium market. While Samsung continues to lead with its hottest-selling S9 model, OnePlus is also a contender in the premium market, having captured 33% of the market in Q2. Xiaomi also claims to be the leading brand in India but is only in the fag-end segment.
In the first half of 2020, the premium segment saw a growth of 18% year-on-year. Samsung led with a 37% value share, while Apple and OnePlus grabbed the second and third spots, respectively.
Apple and Samsung have been leading the premium smartphone segment in India for years, but OnePlus has made a comeback in this market. OnePlus’s OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T both have been successful in the Indian market, and in Q4 of 2018, they took the lead from Samsung in the premium segment. OnePlus has a comparatively solid build quality and launched a new version of its OxygenOS operating system.
OnePlus has carved a niche for itself in India by providing a premium experience at a low price. It entered the market at a time when young digital natives were dissatisfied with the Android offerings available to them. The brand is able to capitalize on the rising demand for premium smartphones and continues to refine its hardware specifications, software experience, and design with each new release.
The company has captured the second spot in India’s 5G smartphone shipments in Q2 2022.