OnePlus 5 to be Phased Out in India, OnePlus to Concentrate on the Online Market
OnePlus entered the Indian market in December 2014. The company faced teething issues in the beginning, but those days are now in the past. Consistently, OnePlus smartphones have been bestsellers for their price range on Amazon.in, and in the online premium smartphone market, OnePlus is the top smartphone brand with 62.2% market share, ahead of even established giants such as Samsung and Apple, according to IDC.
The OnePlus 5T was announced on November 16 as OnePlus’ mid-cycle refresh for the OnePlus 5, and we have published our hands-on impressions for the phone. The device has gone on sale on Amazon India for Amazon Prime subscribers, and general availability will start from November 28. That doesn’t mean, however, that the OnePlus 5 will be immediately discontinued. The OnePlus 3T was discontinued internationally after the OnePlus 5 launched, but in India, it remained available until October when it finally went out of stock.
The Indian Express had an interview with OnePlus India’s General Manager Vikas Aggarwal in which he confirmed that the OnePlus 5 would be phased out in favour of the OnePlus 5T in a way similar to the phasing out of the 3T in India. He noted that there was no need to increase the price of the new phone in India this time around. This is because the OnePlus 5T is a new variant instead of being an entirely new phone.
Also, he stated that OnePlus would continue to focus on the online smartphone market instead of ramping up offline operations. The company recently entered into a partnership with Croma for customers to experience its phones in stores.
Mr. Aggarwal also added his thoughts about the position of OnePlus in the Indian smartphone market, predicting that average selling prices of phones would increase in India just like China, and said that the premium smartphone segment in India was starting to grow. He said that the company was not interested in rolling out a mid-range phone, as it wants to concentrate on the premium end of the market. Finally, he said that OnePlus has not been affected by the perception of being a Chinese brand in India as it deals with phones in a higher price segment.
Excerpts from the interview are included below:
On what will happen to OnePlus 5 after the OnePlus 5T launch
If you look at our previous phone, the OnePlus 3T the last batch was sold out during Diwali and now the product will be discontinued. The same goes for the OnePlus 5, which will also be sold out in sometime, and we’ll have only one product (OnePlus 5T) in the market. As a brand we want to make sure there is one device which is the latest, and the previous devices are usually sold out once the new product launches.
On whether OnePlus will ramp up offline presence in the Indian market
“We are concentrating majorly on the online segment, and this strategy is working well for us. The premium customers have access to online and it is not like one is getting access to more customers in the offline segment. In our case, offline is more from a consumer experience perspective, where they can try and experience the device. We also have a partnership with Croma, where users can explore devices and also buy if they want to do this. Then we have our own stores in Bengaluru and Delhi where customers can experience, buy the device.
On fighting the perception about being a Chinese brand in India
One thing about the idea of “Chinese” brand is that in India people tend to have this perception that the product is inferior, and not of a global brand quality. This is a historical perception that people have had for sometime. In contrast, global brands were always seen as the global standard.
But from OnePlus’ perspective we see ourselves as a global brand. Our major markets are US and Europe. We have a team that is very global and if you see the users in India, majority perhaps do not even know that company is headquartered in China.
In a way, in India, we never faced the Chinese perception challenge. That’s a challenge more for the entry level brands where quality is a concern. They are operating in a lower price segment while we are in a higher price segment where quality is the only thing we are competing on and this something that will never be compromised. When quality is assured, nobody will worry about whether you are Chinese or global.
In India, the OnePlus 5 was the top selling smartphone overall in the above $400 price segment with 24.74% market share last quarter. We are waiting to see if the OnePlus 5T follows the footsteps of its predecessor to become an online bestseller on Amazon India. The competition in the affordable flagship space is increasing, so consumers have good reason to be positive about the prospects of the segment.Source: The Indian Express