China’s Oppo entered the Indian market four years ago. Since then, it has been aggressively pushing its brand and selling smartphones across the country. According to the latest regulatory filings by Oppo, its sales has increased 750% in the financial year 2016-2017 (1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017). This phenomenal growth has been at the expense of several other brands losing market share in India. Let’s find out the reasons behind this exceptional rise of Oppo in India.
In the year ended March 2017, Oppo India clocked sales of Rs. 7,974.29 crore. This amount has increased 7 times (or 754%) as the brand had reported sales of just Rs. 933.74 crore in the year before. This growth is commendable as demonetization affected sales of the overall smartphone industry last year.
Going by the numbers, Oppo has surpassed the sales of Micromax and Sony in just one year. Micromax reported sales of Rs. 5,613.97 crore, which is a 42% fall from its previous year’s revenue. Whereas, Sony’s revenue fell 11% to Rs. 7,181.84 crore in the same period. Micromax has been struggling to retain the budget-segment audience, which is currently dominated by Xiaomi. On the other hand, Sony is downsizing its smartphone business in India which might be the reason for its declining sales.
It is no surprise that Oppo has been spending a lot on advertising, sponsorships and promotions. It also became the title sponsor of the Indian cricket team till 2022, a deal that cost Oppo Rs. 1,079 crore. Apart from being aggressive on the marketing front, the Chinese brand has also been putting a lot of focus on offline retail sales. It is paying retailers healthy margins to recommend its smartphones along with occupying top retail shelves. All of this might have played an essential role in Oppo’s rising sales. Oppo’s promotions focusses primarily on highlighting camera features and rides the selfie boom. Their tagline simply says “Oppo Camera Phone”. Some of their key products in recent times have been Oppo F5, Oppo F3 Plus and Oppo F1s among others.
Right since inception, Oppo has been following the offline-first strategy. Now that it has a fair share of the offline smartphone market, the brand is trying to focus on online sales. This is being done by offering discounts and running multiple promotions across Flipkart and Amazon. This strategy is completely opposite from what Xiaomi is following in India. It captured the online market first and is now targeting the offline space.
These respective strategies seem to have worked well for both, Oppo and Xiaomi in India. In fact, Xiaomi recently announced that it became India’s largest selling smartphone brand in the last quarter, by overtaking Samsung. But the sales number that Oppo posted might be even more than that of Xiaomi, which posted sales of Rs. 7000 crore for calendar year 2016.
The rise of Chinese smartphone brands is not only evident in India but can be globally witnessed. As Chinese brands are dominating the Indian market, home-grown Indian brands are facing the heat. The overall smartphone market share of Indian brands has fell from 33% to 14%. The only exception of this trend is Intex Mobiles, as it reported revenues of Rs. 4,364.08 crore, a 30% rise of from the previous year.
It is also worth noting that Oppo owns OnePlus, a brand that leads the premium smartphone market in India. With this overall strategy in place, it seems likely that Oppo along with other Chinese brands might soon grab even more market share in India.