The International Data Corporation (IDC) has released the second quarter rankings for smartphone vendors in China and the top three winners, Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo grabbed a combined share of 47% of the total market. This is an increase from last quarter’s 45%.
So how did these companies achieve their success? The IDC has narrowed it to three major things:
Strong offline sales
Oppo and Vivo’s strong offline sales is as a result of their shops and advertisements occupying most of the cites that fall within the Tier 3 (e.g. Hangzhou) to Tier 5 categories and making it easy for people living in these cities to access after sales service. For the bigger cities (Tier 1 and 2), they focused on sponsoring major entertainment shows to win over customers.
Focused marketing on key technologies
The top 2 brands for the second quarter, Huawei and OPPO had products that had key technologies which were the focus of their marketing campaigns. The Huawei P9’s marketing campaign focused on the dual camera technology and emphasised on the partnership with German optics manufacturer, Leica. OPPO on the other hand marketed their fast charge technology and camera prowess of the camera-centric OPPO R9 which is one of their best selling phones till date.
Celebrity Endorsements/Brand Ambassadors
Celebrity endorsements isn’t a new trick in the art of marketing but some companies still don’t use it. OPPO hired popular Bollywood stars Hrithik Roshan and Sonam Kapoor as its brand ambassadors for the R9. Vivo initially hired Korean actor, Song Joong Ki as the Vivo X7 ambassador but have dropped him a few days ago. Huawei has also hired a brand ambassador for its Honor line. Even brands like Xiaomi that have been known not to spend on advertising have hired three ambassadors for the Redmi series.
While Huawei OPPO, and Vivo had a great second quarter, Apple and Xiaomi suffered a decline. Apple’s latest device, the iPhone SE was not well received in China. Things may turn around when the new iPhones launch next month. Xiaomi on the other hand which could be termed the king of online sales have now realised the importance of offline sales as well and have started putting up stores in cities.