OPPO climbed in the ranks to become the number one smartphone brand in China for the first time in January 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s Consumer Pulse Service. OPPO’s market share hit 21 percent in January, led by Vivo 20 percent, and Huawei, Apple, and Xiaomi 16 percent. OPPO’s revenues rose by 33 percent month-on-month (MoM) and by 26 percent year-on-year (YoY) during the month.
Passing judgment on OPPO’s achievement, Varun Mishra, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research said, “OPPO was able to successfully reposition its product lines in 2020. The rebranding of the Reno series and the introduction of a more capable device at a lower price point than its predecessor allowed OPPO to win the affordable premium market. The strong traction of the mid-segment A series improved the OPPO product range and was able to cater to 5G demand in China through a wide price band. It was further supported by the fall of Huawei.”
Huawei’s Decline and HONOR Spinning as a Separate Brand
Huawei, along with HONOR, has steadily lost its share of the Chinese market due to product shortages following US sanctions and fewer new releases. Its inventory of main components has been depleting and would not be able to procure 5G mobile components. Over 65 percent of smartphones sold in China in Q4 2020 are capable of 5G. Any absence of 5G models lowers the market share for Huawei in China, while the absence of Google services does the same for 4G smartphones.
To make the most of its depleting inventory of parts, Huawei turned its attention more on the luxury market, only offering goods with higher margins. This has also left a void in the mid-market sector. Due to inadequate supplies, dealers in China are also expanding their Huawei activities and switching to other labels. In part, OPPO’s rise was also propelled by Huawei’s fall, a development that also benefited Xiaomi and Vivo. Xiaomi is making the most of the decrease in Huawei’s online share, while OPPO and Vivo have been winning the offline market.
Reno 5 – A Good Rebranding Technique
The new Reno 5 series (Reno 5, Reno 5 Pro, and Reno 5 Pro +) has been the best-performing Reno series since it was rebranded by OPPO.
Compared to the Reno 4, the Reno 5 comes with a stronger camera, keyboard, chipset, loading standards, and 5G capability, to name a few. These are major improvements, but the launch price of Reno 5 in China was 10% lower than that of Reno 4. This also allowed the OPPO to build initial traction.
The price drop and a higher performance product relative to the previous series have also been able to fill the void left by Huawei in the mid-segment. The step also describes the company’s plan to capture China’s inexpensive luxury market through its 5G portfolio.
OPPO A Series – Control of the Affordable 5G Segment
5G smartphones are gradually making their way into the $300 price range. Almost one-third of the 5G devices sold in China in January were below the $300 mark. OPPO was able to build on this demand with its inexpensive A collection. The A72 5G has been the best-selling 5G product in the segment since November 2020. OPPO has also been able to win a share from the Huawei Nova and Enjoy series.
Powered by the combination of the A-series and the Reno series, the company has emerged as China’s biggest 5G smartphone brand in the $600 price category.
In 2021, the company will concentrate on expanding its market share not only in China but also in the high-end Western European market. Emerging markets such as LATAM and APAC will continue to concentrate on low-to mid-end brands. It also demonstrated new form factors, such as rollable screens, which now seem to have a lot of promise. In the future, OPPO could have this in its flagship lines.