OnePlus 6 vs. Galaxy S9+

Here's something we didn't see coming: OnePlus just sold more high-end phones than Samsung in India. According to Counterpoint Research, OnePlus was the top-selling manufacturer in the flagship segment (₹30,000+, or $435+) in India for Q2 2018, hitting an all-time high of 40% market share. Adding to the surprise is that this is data for the entire quarter (April, May, June) where the OnePlus 6 was only on sale since mid-May compared to Samsung's Galaxy S9 and S9+ launching in March.

India premium market share, courtesy Counterpoint Research

This is the first time OnePlus has ever topped the premium segment in India, and it was aided in its gains by a precipitous drop-off of sales from Samsung and Apple in the quarter — hitting 34% and 14%, respectively. Counterpoint Research notes that fresh entries from Huawei, Vivo, Nokia and LG also mixed up the market and stole small slices. Interestingly, OnePlus hit this all-time-high mark of 40% market share thanks to OnePlus 5T sales making up 10 percentage points of the 40, all coming in the first half of Q2 before it was shelved for the OnePlus 6 launch.

The value-focused flagship model is the best way to sell phones in India.

OnePlus has been incredibly strong in India thanks to its value-focused flagship model, which places it in the "premium" tier in terms of market segmentation but gives it a massive advantage in terms of consumer pricing. The OnePlus 6 starts around ₹35,000 in India, compared to a Galaxy S9+ that starts around ₹60,000. That surely contributed to the sales numbers we see here — price is a massive factor in the Indian market, where sales skew far less expensive than Western countries, so the difference of 25% in MSRP between the OnePlus 6 and Galaxy S9+ is incredibly important. Despite the win for OnePlus, Samsung is still easily the largest smartphone brand in India with 29% of the total market — OnePlus isn't even in the top five, as it only sells relatively expensive phones.

Regardless of the overall position, OnePlus will no doubt take this as a huge win for the growing strength of its brand even in a market it was already incredibly well established in, and look to repeat the feat in other markets globally. Though that will be a far tougher task elsewhere as Samsung holds a dominant position in so many markets where price and value are far less important.

OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6