Which phone brand comes to your mind when someone mentions the word "premium"? Did you shout 'iPhone'? Well, duh, iPhone. It screams premium and luxury. But let's face the reality that not many of us can afford to buy an iPhone. Only a fragment of people can buy the latest version of the iPhone. So does that mean there are premium is only for the rich? That was the case back in 2016, and today the reality is different.
Presently, one doesn't need to buy iPhone because there are a variety of brands that offers phones with top-notch quality. One of the emerging brands is OnePlus.Foundation of OnePlus
After working in Oppo for over a decade, the then vice president of the Oppo, Pete Lau, along with his friend Carl Pei quits and starts a new venture. Just a month after quitting the smartphone company, the entrepreneurs started their own company in December 2013 and named it OnePlus.
The vision behind establishing their venture was to create a more beautiful and higher quality product. Initially, the company started with only 6 employees. To reduce the costs, the company decided to sell its first product exclusively online. And since they didn't have a manufacturing unit yet, they decided to manufacture the products in Oppo's unit.
In April 2014, the company finally announced its first phone, "Oneplus one".About OnePlus One
Although the phone remains discontinued it was able to attract an audience and eventually helped to build a strong customer base. It was an Android-based smartphone with KitKat operating system and was upgradable up to the Marshmallow version.
The chipset used was Snapdragon 801, which gave the ultimate performance. The phone also came pre-loaded with Cyanogen Mod, which has tons of customizability options and butter-smooth performance. The battery life of the phone was 3100mAh, the best during the launch.
Furthermore, the phone had a sharp and vibrant display. OnePlus One was considered one of the fastest phones upon its release. Even though the company had planned to sell 50,000 units, the company made sales of 1 million units of Oneplus One phone. In total, this generated revenue of $300 million.
In the same year, OnePlus entered the Indian market via Amazon with a motive to capture the Indian market and promised to open 25 stores in the country in the futureAdvertising and Marketing
The company made use of influencer marketing to draw attention to its products. In April 2014, OnePlus hired Han Han, a Chinese professional rally driver, and china's most popular blogger, to market their products in mainland China.
Recently, the trailer of the much-awaited series Sacred Games Season 2 was released by no other than OnePlus. The company also claimed that the pictures were taken from the phone manufactured by them. This marketing strategy did wonders and increased the traffic on their social media pages.
During the launch of Oneplus One, the company created a false sense of scarcity among the customers. Not everyone was able to put their hands on the phone as the company followed an invite system, wherein only customers with valid invitations were able to buy the OnePlus One.
In this way, the company knew the exact demand and had adequate supply to meet the needs of the people. Although the company dropped this marketing strategy after the launch of the OnePlus 3, this strategy helped them to control the demand and wants of the customers in the initial stage.
To top it off, the company was heavily dependent on the word of mouth. As more people bought their product, they preached about it after experiencing the splendid performance. After all, the product speaks for itself. With the #NeverSettle, the company emphasized how their brand is superior to any other brand and how one should never settle for poor quality to meet the affordability criteria. At first, the company focused more on its social media accounts to capture the attention of young adults. With the 'Smash the past' campaign, which gave the consumers a chance to win an OnePlus phone for as low as $1, an outrage was created among the crowd.
With such clever marketing strategies, OnePlus was able to beat its competitors and successfully attain a major share in the market.Operations
OnePlus has established itself in many countries. After starting in China, the company slowly started expanding its reachability and introduced its phones in the Indian Market. After being a massive hit, the company also started to expand its operations in the European and American continent.
Today, OnePlus is available in as many as 21 countries including Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, United Kingdom, Cyprus, and many more. The company has established itself in 38 regions.Growth and Expansion
In 2019, One Plus became the No. 1 premium brand in India, defeating Samsung and Apple. Its shipment to India increased by 28% YoY, and it successfully captured India's 1/3rd premium segment. One Plus also became the first-ever premium Smartphone to cross 2 million shipments in 2019.
During the pandemic, One Plus was the only major brand to grow YoY in the US market. Its sales in the United States grew by over 163%. Many speculated that the reason for their growth was their partnership with carriers like T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. The company's expansion plan is also very aggressive. It is aiming to increase the presence of its retail store in 2 tier and 3 tier cities. To do so, One Plus is planning to invest approximately Rs. 100 crores.Phones launched by OnePlus
OnePlus One was the first-ever phone, launched by the company in April 2014, and subsequently, in the next year, the company launched the OnePlus 2.It was a subtly updated version of the OnePlus One and is said to one of the weakest among all.
In the same year, OnePlus launched its OnePlus X, which was not a flagship phone and was not geared as premium. This product was priced at $249, $50 less than that of the initial variant. In 2016, OnePlus launched 2 variants OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. It was the first time that the company launched 2 flagship phones in the same year.
In June 2017, the company launched one of its kind the OnePlus 5. It received great reviews and stellar sales. With this phone, 2 rear cameras were introduced and became the fastest-selling phone in history. Later, 5T landed in the market with a different design than that of the OnePlus 5. In the coming years, the company launched different variants like OnePlus 6, OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus Nord, and many more.
The latest version of OnePlus is its 9 Pro, the successor of the OnePlus 9 series. It is the best camera phone that the brand has offered till now. This series was in partnership with Hasselblad, a leading manufacturer of digital medium front cameras and lenses, and thus the phones under this series are priced a little on the higher end.Final Words
There are so many phone brands available in the market- Samsung, Apple, Oppo, Vivo but OnePlus was able to beat these already existing competitors and create a loyal customer base of its own. Even though it had its mishaps; be it failed campaigns or criticism from media, the company still stands strong. The brand has created trust among its users, and if given a choice these customers will always look back at the same brand, OnePlus.