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Realme - the next Samsung competitor?

Authors: OPTS IM Planning Team

According to Counterpoint research, in Q2 2020, only two top-ten manufacturers have increased sales or market share - Apple and Realme.

While one name is all too familiar, the other brand is a much more recent addition to the smartphone market.

Realme is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer that’s only a little over two years old. It’s part of BBK Electronics Corporation, which owns OnePlus, Oppo and Vivo. Realme was created in a similar way to OnePlus, built as a separate brand from BBK and Oppo, but given access to Oppo’s IP, economies of scale for buying components, as well as its extensive factory lines. However, while OnePlus doesn’t featured in the top ten list of second-quarter shipments at all, and Oppo has taken a hit in terms of devices shipped, Realme appears to have flourished.

The primary reason for this is the excellent value behind the phones. Since launching, Realme's portfolio has swollen into a budget banquet of premium features at competition-beating prices – perfect for brand-agnostic, Covid-era buyers.

At the time of writing, Realme has no less than six 2020 smartphones on sale in the UK, starting at £189 for the Realme 6i, through to the £299 Realme X50 5G – a cheaper OnePlus Nord-a-like, all the way to Realme’s flagship, the £569 Realme X50 Pro 5G, a lower cost, better-specced alternative to the OnePlus 8.

And they're also creating an ecosystem, with wireless in-ear buds that cost £29.99, the Realme Watch at £49.99; the brand’s AirPod alternatives – the Realme Air Neos cost £39.99, and there’s also £34.99 fitness tracker, taking on Xiaomi’s budget Mi Band-series head-on.

With the backdrop of a recession and Huawei's demise in the UK, a new brand could be rising through the ranks to compete with Samsung's mid-range offerings. Although paid media activity has been quiet for Realme, organic reviews and word of mouth could excite consumers with a new underdog in the smartphone world.

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