For the first time, two of the biggest brands in the premium segment are in a direct face-off in the Indian market. OnePlus is currently the top player in the market and is fighting to keep its hold over the above Rs 30,000 price segment. Apple, on the other hand, is leaving no stone unturned to regain top slot it conceded to the Chinese player last year. Both had been aggressively betting for a tighter grip on the fast-growing premium market India that is growing at a healthy double-digit rate. But this time, the fight has got more intense with both the brands focusing heavily on extending their businesses in India. While Apple has advanced the date for market launch of its new iPhone 11 series in India by three days, OnePlus held the global launch of its new flagship OnePlus 7T in New Delhi — for the first time. The new iPhones — iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max — are available in the local market from Friday — compared to their global market launch on September 30.
OnePlus 7T will start selling from Saturday.
To capitalise on surge of the e-commerce market, both the players have adjusted their launch dates with the upcoming online shopping bonanzas such as Amazon’s Great India Festival and Flipkart’s Big Billion Day. Both the e-commerce giants are opening their festive bonanzas from Saturday (September 28) for its paid members. According to data from Counterpoint Research, during the April-June quarter, while the offline market for smartphones — comprising some 60 per cent of the total – shrunk by four per cent, the online channel grew by over 20 per cent. Like earlier, OnePlus 7T, with prices beginning from Rs 37,999, is still cheaper than the new iPhones. However, keeping in mind its failed bid to lure Indian consumers last season, Apple has priced its base model — iPhone 11, 64GB —16 per cent lower compared to its previous launch. Further, the firm has launched a cash-back offer through HDFC Bank, which brings down the effective price of the models by up to Rs 7,000. The offer, available for credit and debit card holders and also via the equated monthly instalment (EMI) scheme, brings down the effective price of iPhone 11 base variant to Rs 58,900. Moreover, a significant price cut on its older models — in the range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 — is expected to brighten Apple’s prospects this time. During Amazon’s shopping festival, for the prime member, effective prices of OnePlus 7T and its previous models OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro are expected to come down by up to 10 per cent. While pre-orders of new iPhones in India began from September 20, by September 24 many of the lower models like iPhone 11 became unavailable due to heavy bookings. While the company is yet to reveal the booking numbers, industry estimates suggest that over 200,000 new devices has already been booked. According to Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst, TechArc, with aggressive pricing, Apple this time has a chance to extend its market share. With Samsung, currently the second-largest player, launching its new flagships — Galaxy Note 10 series — a month ahead of its rivals, OnePlus may have a tough competition this festive season. Incidentally, OnePlus, which first grabbed the top slot (in the premium segment) in April-June, 2018 quarter, held on to its position during the festive season last year. It was for the first time in years, when neither Apple, nor Samsung could manage to become the number one player in the premium cellphone market during the October-December quarter.