Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo are going to the high end again. Is there a show this time?

Perhaps no one would have thought that towards the end of 2020, new machines from domestic brands are still entering the market one after another, and the idea of ​​a high-end market has also been raised.

The newly released Mi 11 continues to set the starting price at 3,999 yuan, and the release time is more than a month ahead; the vivo X60 series has reached a chip cooperation with Samsung and posted the Zeiss lens logo; and OPPO is also the first time. A quasi-flagship version of "Super Big Cup" has been added to the Reno series.

The impact of high-end has become the new consensus of these brands.

In addition to the head brands, the sub-brands of major manufacturers such as OnePlus, realme and iQOO are also revealing information about next year's flagship phones, either intentionally or unintentionally. Among them, realme previewed the new Race series, and iQOO 7 directly exposed its back photo.

Some time ago, OnePlus emphasized in an internal letter that next year, it will not stop at the "small and beautiful" positioning, but will strive to become the first high-end online.

Although several manufacturers have not explained in advance the product positioning upgrade and release time of this round, it is foreseeable that soon a round of market competition for the price range of 4000 yuan or more will start, and many people are very Clearly, this time MiOV is aiming at a rare market "window period".

Changing market

It is an indisputable fact that the smartphone market has fallen into stagnant growth. In fact, brands are competing with each other for existing users, while maintaining their own basic market.

We might as well do a review with IDC data. Looking back at the report on the Chinese market in 2019 and the first three quarters of 2020, Huawei, the most powerful, controls about 40% of the market, while the three vendors, Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo, have a market share of 10-20%. , Apple is below 10%.

The domestic TOP5 ranking has maintained such a ranking for a long time.

▲ IDC's mobile phone market data in China in the first three quarters of 2020

Huawei's leading position in China is very strong, and it is difficult to be shaken. We also mentioned in related reports last year that 40% of the share is basically equivalent to Nokia's position in the Chinese market ten years ago. According to this trend, it is not impossible for Huawei to win more than half of the domestic market.

▲ Picture from: The Irish Times

But after Huawei suffered a chip supply crisis, a new round of changes has also arrived.

Data in the third quarter of IDC, Canalys and other analysis agencies have proved that although Huawei is still in the leading position in the Chinese market, its shipments have fallen, while Xiaomi has experienced a rare positive growth in the third quarter, shrinking The gap with the top three.

▲ In the third quarter of 2020, Xiaomi and OPPO, which are focusing on the European market, have achieved some results

The situation in overseas markets is more illustrative. Take Western Europe as an example. In the past, Huawei has always been the strongest Chinese mobile phone brand in the region. However, in the third quarter, Xiaomi has surpassed Huawei to become the third place in the European market, and has seen substantial growth like OPPO. Huawei has dropped from 20% last year to less than 9% now. Obviously, many users have been diverted by these two brands.

Considering that in the fourth quarter of this year, the iPhone 12 supporting 5G officially entered the market, and sales are also very strong. There will be many variables in the ranking of the future mobile phone market.

▲ In October, iPhone 12 has become the world's best-selling 5G mobile phone

On the other hand, upstream suppliers have also noticed changes in their orders. If you want to get a higher market share, you often have to rely on reciprocal shipments as support.

From October to November, Reuters and Nikkei News quoted supplier sources saying that Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo all increased their orders for related components, and the number is not small, basically increasing their production plans by 1 -50%.

After the Xiaomi Mi 11 conference, Lu Weibing also stated on Weibo that the stock volume of Mi 11 this time is several times that of Xiaomi's digital flagship in history. It can be seen that everyone is clearly prepared for this round of high-end "charge".

At present, the three brands of Mi OV are in a stalemate in the domestic market, and their share has not been able to exceed 20%. With this wave of market changes, any manufacturer that can grab a "cake" from another company has the opportunity to step into the fast lane and compete for the first place.

This opportunity is very rare, and no one wants to miss it.

Offense and defense swap

In the past two years, Huawei has been trapped overseas and can only increase its domestic strength. This has also caused the offline positions of Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo to be significantly impacted by Huawei.

In the face of huge volume advantages, other brands can only try their best to hold their own one-acre three-quarters, or seek the growth of overseas markets to compensate for the domestic decline, thereby maintaining the stability of overall shipments.

This can be seen from the domestic and overseas share of each company. Take the second quarter of this year as an example. At that time, Huawei’s global shipments of mobile phones were about 55 million units, and the Chinese market alone accounted for 40 million, which means that nearly 72% of mobile phones are sold in China.

Switching to Xiaomi, this proportion was only 32% at the time, while OPPO's proportion was 56%, which means that most of their shipments are overseas, not domestic.

It can be said that at this stage, Huawei is fully playing the role of the offensive side in China. Coupled with higher profit concessions and related profit subsidies, many channel vendors also favor selling Huawei. This is where other brands are jealous. .

▲ Huawei opened the world's largest flagship store in Shanghai in June this year. Picture from: China Economic Net

Now, offensive and defensive roles ushered in a swap. Starting from the second half of this year, Huawei, which is "lacking core", is carefully controlling the pace of product shipments, while manufacturers such as Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo are accelerating the filling of channels and advertising resources vacated by Huawei, and at the same time, they have begun to accelerate the iteration of new products cycle. Looking at the entire development history of smartphones, it is extremely rare that this kind of "vacuum" in the market caused by external factors instead of relying on product competition to achieve the survival of the fittest is extremely rare. Analysis agency Canalys also emphasized in the report: "For Huawei's competitors, this rare opportunity is fleeting." Today, Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo are all racing against time, so that during this time Seize more shares.

After all, once Huawei has re-obtained the chip supply license, even if it only comes from Qualcomm or MediaTek, it will have a new impact on the market.

However, Huawei's new machine release plan has not been interrupted due to "core shortage". Last week, the Huawei Nova 8 series equipped with the Kirin 985 chip was still released normally. Similar to Xiaomi 11, OPPO Reno 5 and vivo X60, they are all mid-to-high-end products positioned in the 3000-4000 yuan price range.

The only suspense lies in the shipments that Huawei has allocated for it. Some channel dealers told us that with limited chip inventory, if Huawei has to take into account next year’s P50 flagship or even other new products, it can only allocate chips reasonably. This is tantamount to a single product. Volume.

Currently on Huawei’s official website, the flagship machine Mate 40 Pro, which has been on the market for almost two months, is not open for sale, but is increasing at regular intervals. Mate 40 directly displays "sold out". The results are consistent.

Some distributors are now looking for high-end machines from other brands. As a substitute for Huawei. Now at the same price point, Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo have also planned corresponding product lines. If the brand intends to attract and subsidize channel vendors, this will all become their reasons for switching.

Of course, Huawei is also conducting self-rescue operations, choosing independent glory. On the one hand, it is for Honor to seek cooperation with chip suppliers with a new identity, but on the other hand, it is also hoped that Honor will take over the original Huawei channel business and stabilize the basic market of the "Huawei series".

The entry of Glory also added a new contestant to this high-end machine competition. In the end, whether the market left by Huawei will be taken away by its "own family" or will be gradually eroded by other manufacturers is also uncertain.

What do you rely on to do high-end

Now that the configuration and appearance have fallen into homogeneity, every new mobile phone is trying its best to find new selling points. However, the high-end machine market over the years has proved that high configuration may be a must, but it is not the only item in order to convince consumers to pay for higher prices.

On the whole, some high-end product strategies that Huawei has done in the past have given other manufacturers more or less enlightenment.

▲ Joint name of Huawei Mate series and Porsche Design

The most typical is the joint name of Huawei P and Mate series, Leica and Porsche design brands. Although the joint name itself also has elements of design and technical cooperation, in the eyes of more people, this joint name does indeed enhance the tonality of Huawei's mobile phones and the premium of the brand itself.
This is why many people say that Huawei's mobile phones have a "high-end sense", which is largely due to the brand effect brought by these joint names.

▲ Cooperation between Xiaomi 11 and Harman Kardon

Today, both Xiaomi and vivo are learning this joint play. The former found Harman Kardon, and the latter found Zeiss and engraved the logo on the prominent position of their new phones. The purpose is to rely on the technology and brand cooperation of high-end brands to subtly influence consumers.

▲ Zeiss Zeiss logo of vivo X60 series

The appearance of mobile phones has also found a new path in this round of high-end competition. After the AG glass and gradient color craftsmanship were tired of playing, more and more mobile phones began to regard "non-mainstream" materials such as plain leather and ceramics as the standard equipment of the "Pro" version and oversized cup models. The electrochromic back cover technology that was just unveiled on OnePlus phones at the beginning of the year is now commercially available on OPPO Reno 5 Pro+ Limited Edition. It can be seen that for high-end, the time-consuming process is constantly shortening from concept to mass production.

▲ OPPO Reno 5 Pro+ limited edition electrochromic glass

But after all, mobile phone products have to return to the technology itself. How to get rid of homogeneity? This has always been the key to competition. Now several head brands are willing to invest a higher amount of money in order to obtain the first rights and exclusive rights of a certain chip and camera sensor, and sign cooperation with upstream suppliers such as Qualcomm, Samsung, and Sony. Support higher product prices.

However, achieving this level is already the limit of non-self-research. Going up further often indicates a larger capital and manpower investment, and the high R&D costs obviously require substantial cash flow and profits to support. This is actually the most advantageous part of the first-tier brands such as Huawei and Apple.

In the short term, such a technological gap is still difficult to smooth, but judging from the praise of Xiaomi Mi 10 and 11 and the increasing investment in technology by the two OV manufacturers, several major players in the mobile phone market are already working hard. To make up for the original shortcomings, as to whether it can establish a firm foothold in the high-end, more attention is paid to continuous investment and long-term persistence.

After all, being high-end is destined to be a long-distance race. This is not only a question of product definition, but also a transformation of the minds of original users. In addition to the product, how to improve marketing, word-of-mouth, and grasp the pain points of target audience users is still the most core challenge in this round of high-end machine battle.

A new round of competition is about to begin.

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Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo