A few years ago, if you asked any smartphone enthusiast what they’d like to upgrade to if price was no bar, most people would have said ‘Apple’. And while a lot of buyers still hold Apple in a similarly high regard, the brand has since been beaten at the top by a rather surprising new entrant: OnePlus.
According to a new report by CMR (CyberMedia Research) called the Mobile Industry Consumer Insight (MICI), OnePlus has overtaken Apple at the top as an aspirational brand for buyers in India. Among users surveyed for the report, 36 percent feel that OnePlus is the most aspirational brand for buyers looking to purchase premium smartphones. Even though OnePlus smartphones tend to cost significantly less than flagship devices from brands such as Apple and Samsung, this isn’t a factor among buyers who are looking for the most desirable smartphone experience. In the survey, Apple came in second at 34 percent and Samsung third at 18 percent.
Furthermore, in the age group of 18-32, 59 percent of respondents chose OnePlus, thus showing that the brand has significant appeal among young buyers, while older buyers seem to continue to favor traditional brands such as Samsung and Apple. OnePlus is largely seen as a young, modern company that pays attention to its users and offers devices based on what its user base wants and asks for.
The survey also brought up factors such as brand switching, which also saw OnePlus emerge ahead of the competition. While Apple and Samsung do tend to gain from users looking to switch brands (including from OnePlus itself), OnePlus stands to gain the most with users on Apple, Vivo and Samsung devices suggesting the OnePlus would be their first choice.
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Much of this indicates that OnePlus has significantly improved its perception in India, and is now seen more as a solid contender in the premium smartphone category rather than the ‘start-up’ and ‘flagship killer’ images that it had cultivated in the past. The company is already the leading brand in the premium (above Rs 30,000) segment, and has gained a lot from its move into the offline space as well.