From start-up to becoming India’s major smartphone brand: OnePlus success story

By Anuj Sharma - June 8, 2018
According to market research firm Counterpoint Research, the company grew 112 per cent to become the third-fastest growing player in the smartphone segment, after Huawei’s Honor and Xiaomi.

With smartphones becoming the nucleus of our lives, we all must have heard of OnePlus – a four-year-old start-up that sells one smartphone at a time and still manages to be a vital player in the Indian smartphone market. Often dubbed as ‘flagship killer’, OnePlus brings high end specs in its phones at a much more affordable price giving big tech giants such as Apple, Samsung a run for the cover.

According to market research firm Counterpoint Research, the company grew 112 per cent to become the third-fastest growing player in the smartphone segment, after Huawei’s Honor and Xiaomi.

What explains the OnePlus phenomenon and its deft transition from a contender to a serious competitor in premium smartphone segment, all in less than four years? Also, what works for the OnePlus brand enabling it to beat the smartphone fatigue? Well there are no easy answers.

From its inception, the OnePlus has built-up and relied on the feedback from its large fan base in developing products for them.

‘For today’s millennials that are dominant technology users, the OnePlus has a very native appeal with its clean build and swift performance,’ said Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CMR.

Recent research at CMR has underlined that Millennials at an ‘always on’ workplace, look for speed and performance from their smartphones and hate slow and glitchy devices. The OnePlus smartphones are centric to everything that Millennials do, and they look for sophistication and value for money in their devices.

The OnePlus success, perhaps then, boils down to its customer centricity, and the innate value that OnePlus invests in seeking user feedback and relying on the word of mouth to drive their brand recognition and, in turn, their sales.

Each and every OnePlus, since the OnePlus 3, has focused on delivering exceptional specs at unbelievable pricing. Given its consistency in delivering timely updates, the OnePlus has continued to gain the trust of its users. And recently with the launch of OnePlus 6, the company has proved that it means business.

Solid Specs, Multiple Launches a Year

While the smartphone cycles are similar to Apple, the OnePlus has carved a niche for itself amongst heavy flagships. With its two flagship phones a year formula across every six months, the OnePlus keeps building on the success of its previous edition. And sandwiched in between the two flagships, OnePlus also releases limited edition smartphones. For instance, it was the ‘OnePlus Red’ in 2017 and ‘OnePlus Silky White’ in 2018. Alongside, there is the limited OnePlus Avengers edition, a one-up from the Stars War edition of 2017.

‘Given that the smartphone market is commoditised with near universal similarity in specs and components, the OnePlus is able to continuously break the clutter with its multiple launches, and for example, its focus on tangibles such as colours,’ Ram emphasised.

By doing so, OnePlus is able to retain its loyal customer base and is able to attract the attention of new users who are tired of other smartphone options in the market. It is able to maintain a high demand and manage stock levels by focusing on churning out new handsets through limited production runs throughout the year.

The company recently launched OnePlus 6, which is one of the finest Android smartphone in the market, with its high-end specs, topped with a gorgeous design and build.

The OnePlus 6 secured approximately three million pre-launch ‘Notify Me’ registrations, beat the entire launch day sales record previously held by its predecessor OnePlus 5T within just 10 minutes of launch and grossed the highest ever revenue on any single day on Amazon.

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