oneplus: How OnePlus lived the ‘American dream’ in 2020 – Times of India
The year 2020 was tough for smartphone brands in the US, including Apple and Samsung. Almost all brands saw negative growth during the year 2020 as the overall smartphone market declined 15% year-over-year (YoY). Apple and Samsung, though recovered in second half of 2020, witnessed negative growth for the full year. However, one brand bucked this trend — OnePlus. According to Counterpoint Research, OnePlus grew in all quarters. The brand grew 163% year-on-year, but yes on a very small overall base as compared to Apple and Samsung.
“OnePlus continued to be a challenger brand in 2020 as it was able to grow its channel presence and overall size from a small base 163% YoY,” says the report. The company showed strong growth, especially in carrier channels in th US.
Channel partnerships helped OnePus
OnePlus has long had a relationship with T-Mobile, starting with the OnePlus 6T in late 2018, and has continued launching new devices with Sprint starting 2019. It even expanded into Verizon in 2020 with the OnePlus 8 UW. T-Mobile, however, continues to be the largest source of sales for OnePlus, with the brand doubling down with new low-cost devices that are now even available even without bundling.
According to the report, OnePlus was able to achieve this growth by appealing to consumers who became disenfranchised with current premium smartphone offerings. Other than Apple and Samsung, brands such as Motorola, LG and Google either faced supply issues or saw demand for their devices decline during the year. Among the big players, Google saw the biggest decline of 66%, followed by Motorola 57%, Alacatel 25%, LG 19%, Samsung 5% and Apple 3%.
Good show, but long way to go
Overall, OnePlus remains a small brand despite the strong growth in 2020 in the US. As per Counterpoint, “Further expansion into prepaid will help OnePlus, especially since the brand was initially known as a value brand that provided strong hardware features. The OnePlus N10 5G already lives up to this promise, providing one of the first smartphones with a 90Hz refresh rate in the sub-$300 price band.”
The research company sees other opportunities coming if OnePlus can demonstrate that it is a reliable supplier partner that can meet the demands of carriers and other retailers, especially those looking to fill specific price bands or hit certain refresh deadlines.
Apple and Samsung lose, but continue top-end dominance
While Apple and Samsung did post YoY gains in Q4 2020, their overall market sell-through was down in the year 2020. The market saw sequential quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) growth post second half of 2020, mainly due to a strong rebound in Apple and Samsung premium device sales. iPhone prices have increased, especially with the iPhone 12, while Samsung Galaxy S20 devices also saw a price increase due to 5G support. Average selling prices (ASPs) for premium smartphones have continued to rise over the last year. While most consumers accepted this market shift, there are still some that preferred to look for more affordable alternatives.