Apple and Samsung, the flagbearers of innovation in the consumer technology space for years, maybe losing the trust of young Indian consumers to a Chinese rival. Oppo Mobile India, the local subsidiary of China’s BBK Electronics, has emerged as the most-preferred innovative handset brand in the premium segment, as per an independent study conducted by the analyst firm CyberMedia Research (CMR).
Conducted among consumers, born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, in the survey, Oppo scored 78 per cent. While Samsung, at the second spot, scored 74 per cent, Apple stood at the third spot with a 71 per cent score.
The findings are surprising, to say the least, given that Oppo does not feature among the most-selling premium smartphone brands in the country. While Samsung now tops the chart, in terms of volume of premium devices shipped, Chinese brand OnePlus is the second-largest player in the Rs 25,000-50,000 price band, followed by Apple.
However, the young consumers said that Oppo’s constant focus on camera prowess and its long-lasting batteries remained at the top of their mind. According to Prabhu Ram, head-industry intelligence group, CMR, innovations introduced by Oppo in selfie cameras at an early stage that, along with Vivo, transformed the smartphone market in India and helped it gain consumers’ attention. “The Gen Z clearly identifies with Oppo as an innovation trailblazer that offers a premium experience to them, with industry-leading innovations, whether it be in camera or battery charging,” he said.
Charles Wong, chief executive of Oppo India and president, South Asia, said: “Oppo has constantly strived to redefine the possibilities of a smartphone by introducing several 'firsts' in one of the most-competitive consumer industries in the world. From the world's first motorised camera to the world’s first periscope-style dual camera technology (10Xhybrid zoom technology), we have been at the forefront of introducing revolutionary technologies.”
According to him, since its journey began in India in 2013, the firm had kept millennial consumers in mind, while introducing innovations. It was the first brand to introduce SuperVooc flash charging technology in the country in 2018. Citing shipment data from Counterpoint Research, Wong said Oppo is among the top five smartphone brands in India and it grew by 28 per cent during the January-March quarter.
Spokespersons from Apple and Samsung were not available for comment.
The two brands, however, kept innovation at the forefront in the recent past, said experts. Samsung, which regained the top spot in the premium smartphone market last quarter by volume shipment. introduced the first quad-back-camera phone by launching Galaxy A9 last November. The phone set a new trend of multiple back cameras that have now become common among other top selling phones even in the mid-segment.
Sources said it is unfair to consider Apple while comparing brands in the premium segment. All new iPhones are priced well above Rs 50,000 and thus only older iPhone models are considered while a comparison is drawn in the below the Rs 50,000 price segment. “All its innovations are introduced in the above Rs 70,000 price segment,” an expert said.
Running on an in-house operating system, iOS, Apple phones are way more secure than any Android device that runs on an open source platform. Further, it manages to offer a seamless experience to users due to its control over both — the hardware and the software.