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Smartphone Cos Ring In Price Cuts

Consumers are set to be spoilt for choice and emerge as winners as smartphone makers compete with one another with flagship launches at attractive prices.

In a move unheard of in the industry, OnePlus rolled out the OnePlus 7, a successor to its popular OnePlus 6, at Rs 32,999 — 6% lower than the launch price of its previous variant and equal to the offer price at which OnePlus 6T is currently selling. Industry trackers TOI spoke to said this is a departure from regular practice and also a new move for OnePlus, which usually prices successive flagships at an average 12.6% increase.

Further, Vivo last week slashed the price of a base variant of Vivo V15 Pro (6GB of RAM and 128GB of inbuilt storage) by Rs 2,000 to around Rs 27,000. Samsung’s S10 too went through a round of price cuts recently in the run-up to OnePlus’ latest launch, offering almost a Rs 5,000 discount to customers. “We expected OnePlus to price their new base variant OnePlus 7 at around Rs 38,000, and were surprised to see a Rs 32,999 price tag,” Faisal Kawoosa, founder of consulting firm techARC, said. Models like Vivo V15 Pro and Oppo F11 Pro, which offer similar high-quality specs at price points of around Rs 26,000, may be influencing OnePlus’ pricing strategy, he added.

Tarun Pathak, associate director, Counterpoint Research, considers OnePlus 7’s pricing a smart move to drive volumes in the Indian market amid increasing competition. He also noted a difference of almost Rs 16,000 between OnePlus’ two new launches — OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro (a luxury flagship that competes with the likes of iPhone XR and Samsung S10). “If the prices between OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro were too close, one may have cannibalised the other,” Pathak added.

As the Indian smartphone market bucks the global trend, registering a 7% growth in the March quarter, rate cuts have emerged as a dominant strategy employed by vendors to attract price- and feature-sensitive consumers. For instance, Nokia recently announced a flat discount of Rs 6,000 on its 8.1 model and of Rs 1,000 on the Nokia 8 Sirocco. Further, Oppo F11 Pro also saw a price cut of Rs 2,000 recently, along with Samsung A9 that reduced prices too.

“These price cuts could be attributed to two factors. One, normal cuts that take place in a quarter or so after the launch, and the other to ride on the momentum the segment would gain in the light of the OnePlus flagship launches,” Kawoosa said.

Smartphones priced in the Rs 30,000-Rs 50,000 range — considered premium category in India — are growing fast, and witnessing heated competition from vendors in the affordable category like Vivo and Oppo.―Times of India

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