OnePlus - A Lesson on How to Break into the Android Market

For a long time there has been this general belief that there is no Android phone that can compete with the Apple Models based on quality, this is what One Plus aimed to change ever since its formation. One Plus Technology (Shenzen) Co., ltd simply referred to as One Plus, is a Chinese smartphone and electronics manufacturer based in Shenzen, Guangdong, founded by Pete Lau (CEO) and Carl Pei (Drector) in December 2013.

As of February 2020, One Plus is the top selling premium smartphone brand in India holding 33% of the total market share. Apart from smartphones, One Plus also deals in other devices like earphones, chargers and Smart Television sets in over 340 countries. The story behind the formation and the motivation of the brand is a fascinating.

History behind the formation of OnePlus

As mentioned OnePlus was co founded by Pete Lau and Carl Pei. At that time, Lau was the Vice President of OPPO and Pei was OPPO’s Global Marketing and E-Commerce Division Head.

While they were visiting a Café with their colleagues from OPPO, they noticed that all of them were using Apple smartphones, the reason behind this was the common belief that Android phones were concerned with market share more than the quality of their products. They put forward the concept that based on product quality, there was no “second best” to Apple. This is where One Plus’s motto “Never Settle” originates from as it provides better options for the android users instead for settling for something lesser.

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Production model of OnePlus

Having determined the need of a premium android smartphone line, the company then had to decide what features were to be implemented in their product lines. Their primary focus throughout the manufacturing process was on quality.

As Lau said “we will never be different just for the sake of being different.”

So the One Plus production does not focuses on a ‘brand new concept that has never been seen before’ instead it gives more emphasis on improving the actual user experience in day to day life.

The first product of One Plus was the highly awaited One Plus One which was unveiled just 4 months after the company started on 22 April 2014. The model received a positive reception from the general audience. Despite being about half the price of the other competitors, it performed on the same level and even higher. Although there were some technical faults and lower camera quality due to the low cost, it performed very well despite having a lesser availability than its closest competitor in the Nexus series. It surpassed the expected limits and set a staple for the company upon which the further models were improvised.

The later models of the smartphone included improvements on the previous models and received positive reception.

The company also introduced the T series starting from One Plus 3 until 7 and the Pro Series starting from One Plus 7 to 8. These models were limited edition variants to the core series designed for luxury users.

By 2020, One Plus became the top selling smartphone brand in India. Some of the features that appealed to the masses were unique and handy build, continuous improvement in camera quality with every new model and an affordable price.

The company also announced its intention to venture into the Smart Television market in September 2018 starting with One Plus Tv Q1 and the One Plus TV U series.

Wireless chargers were introduced along with One Plus 8 series and the wireless earphones, One Plus bullets with the One Plus 6 series.

In every product line, One Plus puts product quality and affordability first all the while appealing to the different sections of the audience.

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Pricing Strategy of OnePlus

The pricing strategy of One Plus focuses on the customers seeking high quality features in smartphones and other devices without spending too much into it.

Therefore, the company focuses on high quality manufacturing and a relatively low margin of profit, opting to utilize its savings in order to make the products available and affordable to more people around the world.

However, different countries have different prices depending upon various factors.

Advertising and marketing of OnePlus

Over the years of its operation, One Plus has used many innovative models and campaigns for the promotion of its products. The following are some of the popular promotional strategies and campaigns implemented by One Plus:-

Invite Only System

In order to manage the huge demand in the initial stages of its operation, One Plus used an Invitation System, where the customers had to sign up for the purchase of One Plus One at irregular intervals, they ended the Invitation System with the launch of One Plus 3 which went on sale on an interactive VR (Virtual Reality) platform. One Plus dubbed the event as world's first ever VR Shopping Experience.

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Smash the Past

One Plus started the Smash the Past campaign on 23 April 2014. As the name suggests, it invited a selected group of customers to smash their old phone in an effort to purchase the One Plus One for just $1. However, this campaign didn't work as planned because uninvited customers also started to smash their phones in videos that surfaced online and threatened the reputation of the company. As a result of this, One Plus revised the rules thereby allowing the invited users to donate their old phones instead of smashing them. There were 140000 users and 100 were selected.

Ladies first Campaign

On August 13 2014, One Plus started the controversial Ladies first Campaign, it involved handing the elusive invites to the female forum members first. The selection will be based upon the likes on their pictures with the logo of the One Plus brand, however this received major backlash from the community and was pulled within hours of its launch.

Brand Ambassadors

One Plus hired Bolywood legend Amitabh Bacchan as a Brand Ambassador for their promotion in India. And in May 2019 they hired Robert Downey Jr. for the said role.

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Future of OnePlus

Slowly but surely, One Plus is becoming a household name in the smartphone market along with established brands like OPPO and Samsung especially in India.

However, due to the recent events that have strained the relationship between India and China that resulted in banning of various Chinese apps and products in India, the brand of One Plus may be unaffected but the employment in its Indian stores may dwindle in the near future.