February 4, 2020 5:00:08 pm
OnePlus was the leader in the premium smartphone segment in the Indian market for all of 2019, though Apple’s iPhone XR was the best seller in the ultra-premium segment, according to data from Counterpoint research.
The premium segment (Rs 30,000 and above) grew by 29 per cent on a year-on-year basis, thanks to the increased availability of affordable premium smartphones, along with significant price cuts and user decision to upgrade to more expensive devices, notes the research firm.
OnePlus was the number one premium brand for all of 2019, which was a first for the smartphone company. Its shipments grew 28 per cent year-on-year, and the brand captured one-third of this segment. It also crossed two million shipments for all of 2019, which is another first by a premium smartphone brand in India.
Interestingly, data from another research firm Canalys had shown that Apple’s total shipments in India also stood at two million for all of 2019, though this likely includes older iPhones as well, which are priced under the premium mark.
For OnePlus, the ultra-premium segment (phones priced above Rs 45,000), accounted for 25 per cent of the entire portfolio in 2019. This section was mainly driven by the OnePlus 7 Pro, which launched in the first half of 2019. The OnePlus 7 Pro had a starting price of Rs 48,999 going up to Rs 57,999 for the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage variant.
The research firm credits OnePlus’ strong performance to upgrades made by existing users and the acquisition of new consumers, along with strong word-of-mouth campaign.
Samsung, which was number two in the premium market in India, saw a decline of two percentage points for 2019. But the South-Korean smartphone maker fared better in the more expensive ultra-premium segment as its top selling model was the Galaxy S10+, despite the cheaper Galaxy S10e being available.
The interest in the S10+ meant that Samsung’s ultra-premium segment shipments grew 24 per cent year-on-year. This segment contributed a whopping 79 per cent to Samsung’s overall premium shipments in 2019, compared to 62 per cent in 2018.
The fastest growing premium brand though was Apple, which had 41 per cent year-on-year growth. Apple in its quarterly results had highlighted the double digit growth in India. Much of this was driven by the one year-old iPhone XR , which saw price cuts throughout the year. This is also what helped the iPhone XR become the number one ultra-premium smartphone model in India, beating the Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro.
Plus the price of the iPhone 11, which was lower than 2018’s iPhone XR launch price, helped it gain share during the festive season, and in its launch quarter in India. Counterpoint in its report notes that it expects the India premium segment to become more competitive thanks to more flagship devices and brands.
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