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OnePlus’s recent growth is staggering — and shows just how small it still is

If you listened to the enthusiasts and critics (a label that sometimes includes us here at Android Police), you might think that OnePlus is having a rough time right now. But throttlegate and ColorOS skin aside, the company is massively successful and growing fast. Analysts claimed the company’s Nord phones basically dominated at T-Mobile earlier this year, and the brand saw downright explosive growth in Europe and India. And now Counterpoint is reporting an incredible 428% year-over-year growth here in the US for the last half of the year, making it the fastest-growing brand by a very, very, very large margin — but that’s only because it has a lot of room to grow.

According to Counterpoint’s estimates provided to us by OnePlus (above), OnePlus is essentially spanking everyone else in the US, with a massive 428% increase compared to Motorola’s 83%, Apple’s 53%, Nokia HMD’s 35%, and Samsung’s 17%. Google apparently saw some small loss at 7%, while ZTE fell 77%, and LG somehow managed to stay relevant enough after closing shop to stay on the chart at all. We were also given a few other interesting single-month tidbits and details, like the fact that April 2021 was up a staggering 1,168% year-over-year, and May 2021 up an even more mind-blowing 4,201% year-over-year.

Keep in mind, all of these numbers are year-over-year growth numbers, and that’s kind of a backhanded metric. See, growth depends on your existing marketshare, making it a relative comparison — as in, how much bigger they are compared to a prior timeframe. For behemoths like Samsung, which essentially dominates the market already, there’s not a whole lot of growth to be had. In contrast, OnePlus is so small, and its market penetration is so slight, that it can see triple-digit increases like this and still be a small part of the overall conversation.

These numbers do not apply to this specific situation, but as an example, let’s say Company A grows from 5,000,0000 units shipped to 5,300,000. That’s a mere 6% change. At the same time, Company B’s goes from 100,000 to 200,000 units. That’s a much “bigger” 100% increase, right? Still, Company A at 6% growth beat Company B and its 100% growth on both overall units shipped and the increase in units. Company B just has more space to grow and started with a smaller number.

I suspect the same sort of logic applies to OnePlus in this comparison: Outside the enthusiast market, the company was basically unknown and had small sales metrics compared to other brands. But now that it’s making big inroads with T-Mobile and sub-brands at a more aggressive price point, the company’s “small” gains equate to a big relative difference, even if overall numbers and market share are still smaller than Motorola and Samsung (and probably even LG’s smoking corpse). For a point of comparison, as part of the announcement, We were told that OnePlus’s sold over a million N-series phones since January, and the analyst quote provided by OnePlus implies much of the gains are due to the N-series. “More than 1 million” is objectively small potatoes when Samsung expects to sell somewhere around 300 million phones this year.

Admittedly, OnePlus’s sales are exploding right now, and the company should be celebrating its increasing success in the notoriously difficult US market, but the size of today’s numbers are clear indicators it still has a long way to go.

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