OnePlus breaks into the top five global brands in the premium category

OnePlus 6T India review
OnePlus 6T India review

With flagships from Samsung and Huawei now crossing the $1,000 mark, there's increased interest in "affordable flagship" devices that offer similar hardware at around the $600 price point. The latest data from Counterpoint Research reveals as much, with the likes of OPPO and OnePlus netting huge gains in the premium category.

OnePlus in particular managed to break into the top five global brands in the premium category for the first time, following its ascension to the top five spot in the U.S.. Strong sales of the OnePlus 6T accounted for the increase in market share, with China, India, and Western Europe driving 90% of its global shipments.

OnePlus breaks into the top five global brands in the premium category

Phones selling for $400 and above are dubbed premium, and over the course of 2018 OPPO saw a massive 863% YoY increase in market share in this segment, with OnePlus coming in second with a 209% increase in market share. Xiaomi also saw a healthy 149% uptick in market share in the premium segment, and overall the category accounted for a 22% of all smartphone sales in 2018.

Although there are 40 manufacturers that cater to the premium segment globally, Counterpoint notes that the top five players account for almost 90% of the shipments. Apple is in the lead globally with a 51% market share, with Samsung coming in second with a 22% market share. Huawei is third with a 10% market share, followed by OPPO with a 6% share, and OnePlus with a modest 2% share.

That's still a considerable achievement when you consider OnePlus' global headcount is probably less than what Samsung employs just for rolling out updates to its phones.

OnePlus breaks into the top five global brands in the premium category

China and the U.S. accounted for 50% of all premium sales, with the former seeing a 37% YoY increase and the latter noting a 10% uptick. It's also interesting to see how the top five differ in global markets, with Latin America and India favoring Samsung. Interestingly, Pixel devices have managed to break into the top five in the U.S. for the first time.

Another interesting point to note is just how dominant OnePlus is in India in this segment, with the company in second place behind Samsung with a market share of 36%. Sales from India account for over a third of OnePlus' global sales, which is why it rolls out its best devices in the country.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • Congrants, OnePlus. My OPO1 and OPO2 were among my favorite android phones. I'd probably still be using a OnePlus phone if I wasn't on Verizon.
  • What does the second "O" stand for?
  • Either one or plus
  • So "OPO1" is both "OnePlus One One" and "OnePlus One Plus"? Really?
  • You can use 6T on Verizon.
  • The 6t is Verizon certified now...
  • It might've been nice to know which manufacturer dropped out of the top 5.
  • This is amazing!
  • Yes, but doesn't surprise me especially since they established additional carrier support.
  • Good for them. I've enjoyed using OnePlus phones, but as they've pushed into the mainstream I've lost interest in their devices... I'm drinking the kool-ade(sp?) and going Samsung.
  • Just pray that your phone doesn't have a defect while under warranty, because they won't help you. My OLED panel burnt out in some sections after 5 months. First, they wanted me to clear my cache (not sure how that would fix a hardware problem), and then they said they can't send a replacement device per company policy. Instead they wanted me to send the phone to Texas (I'm in Massachusetts) for repair, which would leave me without a phone for a week. I've heard customer service horror stories from other people as well. If they keep this up, they won't be in the top 5 for long, which is unfortunate, given how great the phones are.
  • Woo Hoo! Switched from Sammy to a 5T a couple months ago and I'll NEVER go back! Great build quality, lightning fast, NO bloat, battery lasts longer than any and a launcher that's smooth as silk...OP is the best!
  • Congratulations to OnePlus, if the Pixel phones (my number 1 choice) weren't around, I'd pick OnePlus in a heartbeat.