OnePlus has great ambitions in 2019 and wants to ensure that the general public associates its name with a good brand image and quality products. This is not yet the case.
"This year, we really want to make everyone understand that we are a premium brand." We have recently been in contact with a spokesperson for OnePlus France and it is in these terms that she described her company's 2019 ambitions. But to understand these words a bit, we need to reposition a little the brand's philosophy and the context in which it evolves today.
From flagship killer to premium
OnePlus has made a name for itself in mobile telephony for having always been able to offer devices with performances and finishes similar to those of high-end terminals while at the same time protecting the users' wallet. The brand is indeed known for the value for money of these products.
But beware, there's one important nuance to keep in mind that reminded co-founder Carl Pei in 2017: "We sell our smartphones at the right price" and not at a low price. From this policy comes the rapidly popularized "flagship killer" expression that has accompanied most OnePlus smartphone releases.
A big fan of OnePlus (image: OnePlus France)
Thanks to this, OnePlus knew how to constitute a strong community of users that it puts very often in its campaigns of communication. Thus, among its fans and more broadly in the technophile circles, the brand has developed a quality image.
But can we speak of "premium"? The question is still debated, but at least it is discussed.
Chinese brand and global brand
But let's get out of the cocoon of insider circles in the mobile phone. By collaborating with Bouygues Telecom and Fnac, OnePlus France has tackled an audience that has less appetite for technology. However, the spokesperson with whom we were able to discuss explains that the reception was a little less enthusiastic because for many, "OnePlus was a Chinese brand among many others."
However, OnePlus wants more than anything to acquire a "global brand" image among all audiences, like an Apple or a Samsung. It would seem that despite the rise of major manufacturers in the Middle Kingdom, Chinese smartphones as a whole still suffer from a reputation unrewarding to a large part of French consumers. In the minds of many people, these devices are still synonymous with poor quality.
OnePlus and the premium market
Acquiring an internationally recognized brand status is not an easy task. OnePlus, however, wants to see some positive signs. "In the last quarter of 2018, OnePlus emerged from the top 5 of the premium smartphone market in the US, according to research firm IDC. This segment takes into account all products beyond $ 500, "says the company.
This observation comes in a context of extremely tense between the US and Chinese authorities – but more on issues of network infrastructure and the conflict focuses mainly on the giant Huawei. OnePlus also highlights the fact that it "has maintained its leading position for three consecutive quarters in India with 36% of premium smartphone market share in 2018" (CounterPoint study).
But India is a market "very technophile" explains the spokesman of the company and OnePlus is thus ahead of Samsung, Xiaomi or Apple in this country. We are told that the firm has planned to encourage its other subsidiaries to study the success of its Indian branch to try to apply the same revenue in various regions, in France in particular: "We already have a large community, but we want create the same craze as in India. "
The ambitions of 2019
The challenge now is to redefine the very concept of premium smartphone. From what tariff or technological threshold do consumers expect to enter this famous premium territory? This is the whole question that the company will have to tackle to bring about a real change in the mindset of users.
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Read on FrAndroid: "An expert and enthusiastic family": the boss of OnePlus talks about his community