OnePlus grew rapidly in the U.S. thanks to its budget phones for T-Mobile
OnePlus garnered a lot of attention from power users in its early years for selling flagship-tier devices at a lower price than established brands like Apple and Samsung. As years went by, the prices of OnePlus flagships crept up in price to the point where their devices were no longer “flagship-killers” but just “flagships.” The company realized it would be difficult to stay competitive with only its biannual flagship phone launches, so they expanded their product line to include budget and mid-range phones under a new “Nord” brand. Fans were skeptical of this pivot, but data shows the move was a huge success for the brand, and according to Counterpoint Research, it’s led them to impressive growth in the United States.
According to the market research firm, OnePlus experienced an over 400% growth in year-on-year sales in the U.S. during the first half of 2021. Without exact sales figures, it’s difficult to determine how impressive this growth really is, but it’s clear that OnePlus has a winning strategy right now.
The growth of OnePlus in the U.S. smartphone market follows the exodus of LG from the smartphone space. Other brands that experienced a decline in H1 2021 YoY sales include Google and ZTE, the latter of which declined the most. Samsung, Nokia/HMD Global, Apple, and Motorola all saw some growth in the U.S., though their growth was much lower relative to OnePlus. Again, without exact sales figures, it’s difficult to gauge how successful OnePlus truly is compared to these other brands, but they’re on an impressive upward trajectory nonetheless.
The report from Counterpoint Research specifically credits OnePlus’ growth in the U.S. to the introduction of multiple budget phones, including the OnePlus Nord N100 and N10 5G. “With the introduction of the N100 and N10 5G in January, OnePlus quickly gained market share in Metro by T-Mobile.”, said Senior Research Analyst Maurice Klaehne. “Besides, it continues to push its premium device presence at T-Mobile with the latest OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro. OnePlus further expanded its presence in Q2 due to LG’s exit from the smartphone market while the N100 has been one of the top selling smartphones within Metro for months.”
T-Mobile has also swapped its high volume 5G device from the Samsung Galaxy A52 to the OnePlus N200, which is one of the most affordable 5G smartphones available in the U.S. market. OnePlus is filling a void left by LG and also capitalizing on the inability of manufacturers like Samsung to meet the demand from carriers for cheap, 5G-enabled smartphones. OnePlus can meet the demand, making it an appealing option for carriers such as T-Mobile to push to consumers.
As we mentioned before, other smartphone manufacturers did not grow nearly as much as OnePlus did. Strong growth was seen from Motorola, and that can be attributed to the company focusing on affordable budget and mid-range 5G phones such as the Moto One 5G Ace. Apple’s iPhone 12 series has proven highly successful, showing that there’s still some room for growth in the premium smartphone space in the U.S. Google’s upcoming Pixel 6 series seems to be focused on that segment, but it remains to be seen if it’ll successfully compete with Samsung or Apple’s flagships.
The U.S. smartphone market is changing slowly but surely, and it’s likely that with the continued success of the Nord series, we may see OnePlus focus more and more on budget phones in the future.
Featured image: OnePlus Nord N200