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Offline is the new online: OnePlus opens new retail store in Mumbai to reach more buyers

OnePlus expands its offline retail stores in the country but believes most customers will continue to purchase online.

OnePlus offline retail store main

OnePlus is continuing expansion of its offline retail stores in the country with the launch of a new authorized store in Mumbai. The Chinese premium smartphone maker had announced that it will launch new retail stores in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata as part of its offline retail push. Now, it is officially opening the doors to its new store in Navi Mumbai as it continues to gain market share in the country.

OnePlus India has opened a new retail store at the Grand Central Mall in Seawoods, Navi Mumbai as it taps into the possibility of new buyers. OnePlus says the Indian market is the biggest revenue contributor for the company and it made over one-third of the company’s revenue last year. OnePlus is currently the leader in the premium smartphone segment, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest mobile tracker report. During the second quarter of 2018, OnePlus saw a 284 percent rise in its market share.

The rise in its market share is mainly driven by demand for the new OnePlus 6 flagship smartphone. Despite launching in the second half of May, the company managed to move over a million units of OnePlus 6 in just 22 days. Counterpoint Research says OnePlus 6 had a market share of 30 percent at the end of Q2 2018 in the Indian premium market. The smartphone was followed by Galaxy S9 Plus with a market share of 12 percent while last year’s OnePlus flagship, the OnePlus 5T took third place with a market share of 10 percent.

In the online retail segment, OnePlus says it has a 62 percent market share. In other words, the company is implying that two out of three premium smartphones sold in the country are OnePlus devices. Since its entry in September 2014, OnePlus has remained an online-focused smartphone brand and has sold its devices exclusively via Amazon India. Now, it wants to expand its footprint and sell its flagship devices in the offline market as well.

As part of that effort, OnePlus plans to open over 10 new offline touchpoints in 10 key markets. The company is targeting key metro markets like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata and smaller cities like Pune and Ahmedabad. OnePlus first opened an authorized store at Vile Parle in Mumbai and the second store is now being opened in Seawoods, Navi Mumbai.

OnePlus has emerged as the leading brand in India (Source: Counterpoint Research)

“Mumbai is one of the top 3 key markets for OnePlus in India. To provide our users with more offline touchpoints in the city, we came up with an authorized store earlier this year. Following its success, we have recently set up an Experience Store at Seawoods Grand Central Mall, Navi Mumbai. There is a growing new segment of young students and tech savvy users who are upgrading to premium smartphones,” Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus said at a media briefing.

OnePlus is not the first online-first smartphone maker to increase its efforts in the offline retail space. Chinese smartphone makers Oppo and Vivo already have a large presence in the offline channel while Xiaomi has recently started opening its own retail stores. Lenovo-owned Motorola has also been opening a number of stores as part of Moto Hub initiative across the country.

In the case of OnePlus, the company is taking a different approach. In an interaction with BGR India, Vikas Agarwal added that the goal with offline retail stores is to bring a chance to properly experience OnePlus smartphones to more consumers. He says that OnePlus would prefer that consumers buy those devices online, after experiencing the device in a retail store. Even with offline retail stores, it plans to have 10 large-scale retail stores called ‘OnePlus Store’ and additional satellite stores termed as OnePlus Authorized Stores.

Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India.

“These stores will help us understand the market better, offline retail segment better and further refine our offline expansion plan for next year,” Agarwal said in an interview. He added, “By end of this year, I am hoping to better understand which all locations to expand and how many stores should be opened in each city. We don’t want our new store to cannibalize the sales of existing stores, leading to a declining effect.”

While the new stores coming up during this year will mainly be in Tier I cities, it also plans to expand to Tier II and Tier III cities next year based on the learning from these new stores. However, OnePlus does not see these stores as the driver for sales. “In the long run, people will move to online eventually while offline stores will supplement the retail experience,” said Agarwal.

Watch: OnePlus 6 Red First Look

OnePlus is more bullish about its prospects in India than in its home market, China. Apart from expanding its offline presence, the company has announced plans to open its second headquarters in the country and set up an R&D centre as well. Vikas Agarwal told BGR India that the R&D centre will help local app developers to integrate their applications with Shelf, a quick-access tool built into the core of its operating system. “The R&D centre will initially focus on software and create new use cases for Indian consumers without changing the core of the operating system.”

OnePlus also says it is working on adding new enhancements to the camera on the OnePlus 6 with future software updates. OnePlus, like Xiaomi, has started seeing competition from brands such as Honor and Asus in the premium smartphone segment. While OnePlus does not see them as immediate competition, it remains to be seen whether this retail footprint will offer immediate dividends in terms of sales.

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  • Published Date: July 31, 2018 8:09 PM IST