OPPO is an electronic and mobile communication company, founded by Tony Chen. The Chinese smartphone brand’s product lines include smartphones, Blu-ray players and more. Owning the largest market share in China’s smartphone market in 2016, OPPO ranked first place among all smartphone brands, accounting for 18% of the market share. According to IDC 2020 Q2 data, it contributed a 16% market share, a slight drop from 2016. Thanks to OPPO’s market strategy targeting Chinese under 30, the brand had gained strong momentum in the maturing Chinese market, and is gaining ground in the international market.
Data source: iimedia, China smartphone market share by brand
The development of OPPO in China
OPPO is a subsidiary of BBK Electronics Corporation, which specializes in electronics sets, MP3 players, etc. The value of OPPO consists of trust, team collaboration, consumer-oriented and result-oriented. Established in 2004, It first launched MP3s and MP4s to cater to the Chinese electronic market. In 2008, the Chinese smartphone brand launched its first smartphone, marking the time OPPO entries the smartphone industry.
OPPO’s performance in the Chinese smartphone market
Data source: IDC, OPPO shipment volume
OPPO maintains in second place among the top 5 most shipments volume brands in 2017 and 2018.
Data source: CAICT, market share of smartphone brands in China
OPPO’s market strategy is famous for its omnipresent stores. Until June 2020, OPPO has already opened over 600 stores in shopping malls.
According to Trustdata and Canalys, OPPO had a better sales performance in 2020 Q1, compared with that of 2020 Q2. In Q1, OPPO accounted for 21.4% of the market, followed by VIVO (20.5%). However, in 2020 Q2, VIVO overtook OPPO and ranked second, with a 16% market share.
Data source: Trustdata & Canalys, China’s smartphone market share by brand in 2020 Q1 & Q2
The outstanding performance in 2020 Q1 is mainly from new products. Its new series, Reno3, presented an excellent sales performance. Reno3 Pro became the lightest and thinnest 5G mobile phone at that time, with 7.7mm thickness and 171g weight. The light of Reno3 Pro is different from other 5G smartphones and successfully removed the ‘heavy’ label on 5G smartphones.
Source: PCPOP, OPPO Reno3’ excellent sales performance
On the first day of sales, the OPPO Reno3 collection got the most sales in the Android smartphone market on three giant e-commerce platforms (Suning, JD and Tmall).
OPPO’s strategy in the overseas market
OPPO’s market strategy divides the global market into seven regions (China, India, South Asia, West Europe, East Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East Africa, Japan). According to IDC, OPPO experienced rapid growth in the overseas market in 2016, with a 183.8% growth rate.
Data source: IDC, OPPO sales in the overseas market
OPPO started its overseas journey in 2009 in Thailand. According to IDC (2017), the brand’s market share was second in the Thai smartphone market.
Apart from the Thai market, the effect of OPPO’s market strategy can be seen in the Indian market. In 2018 Q1, OPPO’s Indian owned a 7.4% market share. As an important market, OPPO also built branch offices and factories in India.
After conquering the Asian market, the Chinese smartphone brand expanded into the European market, like Russia. Until 2018, OPPO has been registered in more than 140 international countries, and its mobile phone business has covered 31 countries and regional markets.
Precise brand and market positioning
OPPO’s market strategy was always one step ahead of other smartphone brands. While competitors started to open brick and mortar stores, the smartphone brand had already planned to build super flagship stores. In 2017, OPPO built a well-designed super flagship store in Shanghai.
Source: Souhu, OPPO super flagship store in Shanghai
The success of OPPO does not attribute to any complex business strategy. OPPO’s market strategy simply insists on a consumer-oriented strategy and tries to explore the demand of consumers and increase consumers’ experience.
Consumers aged 16–25 and 26–35 account for around 40.4 percent and 47.9 percent respectively. Based on the consumer-oriented idea, smartphone R15 ’s marketing content uses the slogan ‘AI smart camera, make beauty more natural’. This slogan vividly conveys that R15 can take natural and beautiful photos.
Source: OPPO official website, AI smart retouching
R15 also strengthened the product positioning – ‘OPPO = Take photos’ in a time when selfie and beauty filters are the main selling points in Chinese smartphone brands.
Brands closely related to OPPO
In August 2020, OPPO changed its online store (OPPO Mall) into Huantai Mall. Meanwhile, OnePlus and Realme also joined in. The first time these three brands gathered on an online channel.
OnePlus was created by a former deputy general manager of OPPO, targeting on online, middle-end and high-end consumers and the overseas market. As an emerging Chinese smartphone brand, OnePlus insists on the product idea — ‘Do not compromise’ and ‘Let products speak’.
OnePlus has a close relationship with OPPO. OnePlus uses Oppo’s manufacturing line and shares a part of the supply chain with the Chinese smartphone brand, which helps OnePlus business, develop in many steps. Such share with OPPO allows OnePlus to sell the low-price smartphone, since OnePlus do not need to completely invest in R&D and manufacturing equipment.
Source: OnePlus official website, the logo of OnePlus
Realme was created by a veteran from OPPO and targets online, low-end and middle-end market, starting its market overseas. Dare to cross different levels is always an attitude of Realme.
Source: Realme official website, the logo of Realme
According to Counterpoint, in 2020 Q2, Realme is responsible for 5.5% global market share. It becomes the fastest growing among Chinese smartphone brands, with a 10% YoY growth rate in shipment volume. It is quite rare that a new brand succeeds in the mature smartphone market.
Data source: Counterpoint, Global smartphone shipment volume in Q2 2019 & Q2 2020
Behind’s OPPO’s marketing strategy
Celebrity endorsements and purchasing naming rights on variety shows
One main marketing tactic OPPO uses is celebrity endorsements. With this marketing method, OPPO harvests huge traffic and exposure. The reason for this tactic is because those under 30 are the target consumer group, who spends time on the mainstream internet.
In 2008, Oppo leveraged the Korean wave. OPPO signed with Kook Ji Yeon, a famous Korean actor to film a television commercial.
In 2009, OPPO cooperated with a famous boy group, Super Junior M. During the cooperation, OPPO filmed a wildly known advertisement, where every member of Super Junior M took a role.
Source: OPPO official website, OPPO well-known ads
The significant effect of marketing via high-traffic starts can be seen from fans’ behavior on social media. Recently, OPPO leveraged Karry Wang (one member of TFBOYS) and plans to launch a new mobile phone on September 21st, which is his birthday.
Data source: OPPO, OPPO Reno4 pre-promotion
On Weibo, we can see that his fans support him by posting via an OPPO mobile phone and acclaiming OPPO’s right choice in selecting a spokesman. In this way, the brand exposure can, to some extent, be largely increased.
Source: Weibo, Fans’ share Karry’s OPPO ads
OPPO’s strategy redefines the concept of spokesman. OPPO invited a group of high-traffic stars, including Yang Yang, Mi Yang, Dilraba Dilmurat, Joy Chow and more, to build an OPPO family.
On top of that, purchasing naming rights or sponsored of variety shows to increase brand exposure is one OPPO’s strategy. For example, OPPO sponsored the variety shows like ‘the birth of actors’ and ‘Sing!China’, which are both the on the top TV channels and are popular among the young.
Source: OPPO official Weibo, endorsement with the variety show ‘the birth of actors’
The rollout of OPPO R15 also shows some highlights in OPPO’s market strategy. OPPO cooperated with Zhejiang Satellite TV. Unlike other brands’ normal launches, OPPO and Zhejiang Satellite TV invited half of the entertainment circle, creating a spring grand ceremony.
Source: Weibo, OPPO R15‘s grand launch
The launch of OPPO R15 was only a small part of this event. Through this grant show, OPPO became a household name, harvesting a strong brand tension and traffic. Plus, OPPO increased consumers’ interest and strengthened its young and fashionable brand image.
OPPO’s co-branding helps it walk in the front end of fashion.
In 2017, OPPO co-branded with a luxury makeup brand (Guerlain) to promote OPPO R9. This cooperation was the first time a Chinese smartphone brand co-branded with a makeup brand.
Source: Bazaar, OPPO X Guerlain
Oppo also cooperated with independent designers, designing trendy T-shirts and hoodies.
Source: Weibo, OPPO’s co-branding with designers
Oppo has cooperated with a football team (FC Barcelona) since 2015. At that time, it was the first time a Chinese smartphone brand cooperated with a European football club.
In 2019, OPPO made a breakthrough to connect again with FC Barcelona, launching the OPPO Reno X FCB smartphone.
Source: OPPO official website, OPPO X FC Barcelona
Alongside years’ cooperation, Oppo launched several FCB customized smartphones like R7 Plus, R9 and R11. Oppo also filmed TV commercials, advertised on LED signs during matches, and arranged fans’ meetings. All these events built up a sound relationship and created a blend of technology and sport.
Comparison of Chinese smartphone brands
The advantage of OPPO is the design, product promotions and online and offline sales models. When mentioning OPPO, the first thing that comes to users’ mind is OPPO’s advertisements on different channels and its popular spokespeople. Through the celebrities’ influence, OPPO built a sound image. OPPO focuses on improving features that can touch user experience, like taking a photo, listening to music and playing games. Compared with other Chinese smartphone brands, OPPO’s online and offline sales modes are worth learning,
It can be said without the entry of Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone market would not have such vitality. Xiaomi’s product line has always followed a cost-effective route, selling the most high-end products at an acceptable price. With its strong performance and a good price, there are countless loyal consumers. In addition to cost-effectiveness, Xiaomi is also at the forefront of innovative companies. The Xiaomi Mix collection, which is a full-screen innovation, has triggered the trend of full-screen mobile phones.
As a representative of Chinese technology companies, HUAWEI’s merits are its outstanding technology independent research and development capabilities. As one of the largest manufacturers in China, HUAWEI has two magic weapons to win. One is the Hi-silicon and Kirin processor, and the other is the Leica-certified lens set. With these two core accessories, the Huawei Mate series and P series have risen to the high-end market and gained a large market share.