Everyone knows that OPPO has a high-end dream, and folding screens seem to be the key to achieving high-end overtaking in corners. However, it seems that folding screen mobile phones have not become mainstream in the market, which may also mean that OPPO still seems to be some distance away from its high-end dream.
Higher end often means more profits and value. In addition, according to statistics, as of the second quarter of 2023, smartphone shipments have fallen for eight consecutive quarters. However, at the same time, the domestic high-end mobile phone market priced at more than 600 US dollars has declined sharply compared with 2022. During the same period, it grew by 3.1% against the trend.
It can be said that in the absence of a major replacement wave, the competition for high-end mobile phones has become increasingly important. OPPO itself has worked hard enough. According to the “China Smartphone High-end Market White Paper” published by Counterpoint Research, the domestic high-end market in the first quarter of 2023 will be divided between Apple, Huawei, and OPPO, with OPPO ranking first with a 3.6% share. Third in the high-end market.
It seems that the development momentum is good, but the distance from Huawei and Apple may pour cold water on OPPO. In the future, OPPO’s high-end journey may still have a long way to go.
1. A new “face”: OPPO is determined to transform into high-end products
In my impression, the rise of OPPO is probably inseparable from two aspects of layout. First, the high degree of offline channels sinking, and second, the choice of spokesperson styles continues to be dominated by popular traffic stars.
The height of the channel sinks, and the actual location distance makes it closer to the public, just like a street store, making it easily accessible to many people. For middle-aged and elderly people who are not good at online shopping, such a store will undoubtedly make it easier for these groups to come to their doorstep. Coupled with the affordable price, OPPO can spread quickly.
In addition, the “fan effect” and influence of popular traffic stars attract the attention of a large number of young people. OPPO’s different celebrity spokespersons target different young groups and use the spokespersons to bring a group of loyal fans to their brand. OPPO realizes the youth Further reach and transform consumer groups.
It can be said that OPPO’s success is not accidental, but this kind of gameplay is limited to the mid-to-low-end market.
At the channel level, for products in the high-end field, the importance of first-hand supply and ensuring product quality cannot be underestimated. At the same time, high-end mobile phones should be complemented by matching high-end channel scenarios. It would be inappropriate for OPPO to rely on its original street stores for high-end mobile phone sales. Street mobile phone stores are inherently low-end and mid-range. High-end phones are prone to price confusion in low-end street stores, which is not conducive to the standardization and stability that high-end products should have.
Now it seems that OPPO is gradually getting rid of its past successful “path dependence”, at least this is a correct development attitude. Just like the WeChat public account All Weather Technology concluded in its article “OPPO channel strategy adjustment: high-end phones abandon “mom-and-pop stores””: OPPO is gradually abandoning “mom-and-pop stores” and entering shopping malls. Now that OPPO is entering the high-end market, it needs to make changes at the channel level.
In addition to channel changes, OPPO has also seen very obvious changes in its marketing habits. After all, people rely on clothes and horses rely on saddles. If you want to change the public’s inherent impression of OPPO, you have to start with “face”.
Countless cases in the business community tell us that if a brand wants to be successful, it must take advantage of the opportunity for marketing.
On the one hand, OPPO started to “build momentum” on its own from the store level.
In the middle of this year, OPPO announced the official opening of its Guangzhou flagship store, which has a total area of more than 660 square meters. The new flagship store displays a full range of OPPO products as well as limited edition customized products. In addition, multifunctional areas and service areas have been added. After all, offline experience clearly shapes a high-end image. This can be seen from the offline experience stores of various digital 3C brands.
On the other hand, leverage marketing is adopted from the marketing level.
OPPO is obviously walking on “two legs” at the marketing level. In terms of spokesperson selection, it is still a popular traffic star among young people. After all, no brand will refuse to be friends with young people. In addition, OPPO is taking frequent actions in terms of marketing. From the Serie A AC Milan football team to the French Open and Wimbledon in the tennis world, to internationally renowned events such as the European Champions Cup, we use these events to improve our international influence and promote the promotion of our high-end products.
High-endization has become a task that OPPO must complete.
2. The “lining” that needs to be resisted: The attitude is very sincere, but the ability needs to be improved?
Global smartphone shipments have declined for eight consecutive quarters, and players from all walks of life are unwilling to be constrained by the inward merry-go-round, which has further increased the intensity of the high-end mobile phone market.
Fight for new machines, fight for marketing, fight for R&D…
The competition among high-end mobile phones is destined to be a competition based on the comprehensive strength of enterprises. Especially in technology research and development, if you have suffered losses, you will know the importance of having core technology in your own hands. However, at the level of technology research and development, OPPO once made a high-profile effort to develop chips, because if it wants to compete with Apple, Samsung and Huawei in the high-end market, independent and controllable chip research and development capabilities may be a standard feature. But now it seems that the final result of OPPO’s chip development seems somewhat disappointing.
In May this year, OPPO told the media that in the face of uncertainty in the global economy and mobile phone market, after careful consideration, the company decided to terminate the ZEKU business. This incident occurred only two months after the release of OPPO’s flagship Find X6 series and the debut of a chip code-named MariSilicon X.
Analyzing the reasons for OPPO’s failure in R&D, there may be many reasons. But one relatively clear point is that the technical barriers to chip research and development are very thick and the industrial chain is very complex. In addition, there may be unknown industrial chains and the water in the supply chain may also be very deep. Compared with industry giants like Apple and Samsung, which have accumulated many years of experience in the chip field, OPPO’s starting point is too low. Domestically, OPPO has always been famous for its marketing, and its voice seems to be much smaller than Huawei’s at the technical level.
Moreover, technology research and development is a “gold pit”, that is, you know that it will explode one day, but the time is unpredictable, and the return cycle is also very long. Such a long-term investment may also be a burden for OPPO, and it is unknown whether the products it develops behind closed doors can keep up with the pace of the industry. In other words, we are working towards levels 1.0 and 2.0, while our opponents may be aiming for 3.0 and 4.0.
No one can be sure of this, because the biggest constant in this era is the rapid changes.
As a result, OPPO’s chip research and development strategy has suffered a setback, which is unexpected but expected.
In addition, in terms of its own technology research and development, OPPO does not seem to have obvious advantages in products of the same level. For example, reno10 and Honor 90 have been compared many times as products of the same grade. There are also many review articles on the Internet, pointing out that Honor 90 seems to be ahead in terms of cameras, dimming screens, and performance configurations. This comparison of the same mid-range phones may leave a bad impression on the public about OPPO’s technical strength.
Returning to the issue of chip research and development, self-developed mobile phone chips require huge investments and risks, and specific research and development also needs to face many difficulties and problems. OPPO has now chosen to give up on chip research and development.
However, having its own chip allows the phone to have better customization capabilities and optimize the collaboration between hardware and software. It can be said that if you want to truly gain a foothold in high-end mobile phones, you may need to have such capabilities.
As a result, OPPO seems to have encountered a dilemma. The final result is that OPPO gave up on self-developed chips. But in this case, what should it use to support its high-end dream?
3. The era of folding blowout: What are OPPO’s chances of winning in the high-end market?
Foldable screen mobile phones, which have been highly publicized by mobile phone manufacturers and various media for a long time, seem to be blooming everywhere this year. According to a previous report by DSCC, a screen supply chain consulting company, 37 foldable mobile phones are expected to be launched in 2023, with shipments likely to reach 19 million units.
Needless to say, domestic mobile phone brands, the shortlisting of Apple and Google have added fire to folding screens on a global scale.
So will folding screens become mainstream? There is hope, but the difficulty is obviously high.
According to data released by IDC, in the first half of 2023, China’s foldable screen mobile phone market shipped 2.27 million units, a year-on-year increase of 102%. The growth trend is not small. However, at the same time, we have to see that foldable screen mobile phones have still not been able to “fly into the homes of ordinary people”, setting off a wave of nationwide replacements.
The core technology of folding screen mobile phones mainly includes OLED flexible screens, hinges, batteries and other parts. At present, it seems that the supply of key components such as flexible screens and hinges is limited, and the supply chain is not yet particularly mature, which also means that the production cost of folding mobile phones is still at a high level. Successfully isolated mid- to low-end mobile phone users. At the same time, in the high-end mobile phone market, foldable screen mobile phones as a new format still need to further convince high-end mobile phone users who are still waiting to see.
From this perspective, it may be difficult to hope that folding screens will trigger a big wave of phone replacements in the short term.
So will folding screens become OPPO’s key to entering the high-end market?
At present, it seems that there may be many problems that OPPO needs to solve.
In overseas markets, OPPO uses folding machines as new weapons to expand the high-end market. In terms of overseas markets, in Asia, Canalys report statistics show that in the second quarter of 2023, OPPO rose to second place in the Southeast Asian market, and it became the second-ranked mobile phone brand in Southeast Asia with a market share of 16%. .
However, at the European level, OPPO’s performance seems to be somewhat unsatisfactory. The patent dispute with Nokia has affected OPPO’s promotion in certain European markets. In July 2022, the Mannheim District Court in Germany determined that OPPO (OnePlus) brand mobile phones had used two essential patents without reaching consensus with Nokia. The court agreed with Nokia’s request and decided to ban the sale of two brands of mobile phones in Germany.
In the first half of this year, according to foreign media reports, OPPO plans to withdraw from its mobile phone business in Europe such as Germany and the United Kingdom, and will temporarily retain its mobile phone business in Italy, Finland, Spain, France, etc. Although OPPO has stated that it will not withdraw from Europe and the United Kingdom, outsiders may currently encounter some problems. After all, there is no smoke without fire. Considering that Nokia is also suing OPPO for patent infringement in Finland and other countries, this may also make the outside world doubt OPPO’s future development in Europe.
Of course, although it has its own troubles, what company doesn’t have its own “difficult lessons”?
Today, OPPO is still loved by more and more people, and its sales volume has also maintained a good growth trend. According to the quarterly mobile phone tracking report released by International Data Corporation (IDC), OPPO successfully ranked first in the market in the second quarter with a market share of 17.7%. First, in the first quarter of this year, OPPO had a market share of 19.6%. Combining the two, OPPO was in the leading position in the first half of this year.
It can be seen that OPPO’s development has both surprises and pressures.
Nowadays, as foldable screen mobile phones become the new focus of competition for high-end mobile phones, it also means new opportunities for OPPO. We also hope that OPPO can represent Chinese brands in more international markets in the future!