Offline channels lose ground: Can 5G regenerate vivo

There is a strange phenomenon in the mobile phone market. Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo all belong to the first-tier domestic mobile phone brands, but the image of vivo always gives people a feeling that it is shorter than Huawei and Xiaomi, and the same is true of its equally famous OPPO.

As a result, in the 5G market that arrived as promised, vivo 5G mobile phone sales are far ahead, but users are surprised and suspicious. Ask passers-by: “Do you know which mobile phone brand has the highest sales of 5G mobile phones?”. Most people will answer: Huawei, Xiaomi, Samsung… Vivo is rarely mentioned. In fact, in the 2019 domestic 5G mobile phone market share data report, vivo ranked second only to Huawei, with a market share of 17.7%, while Xiaomi ranked third with a market share of only 10.4% .

Moreover, in the eyes of consumers in first- and second-tier cities (highly educated, high-income groups), although Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo are all smartphone manufacturers that have entered the global TOP5 as China, the brand reputation of Huawei and Xiaomi is obviously better than that of OPPO and vivo. Brand reputation is more influential. When Huawei mobile phones and vivo mobile phones with the same price and the same functions are placed in front of them, no one will choose vivo without Huawei.

It is vivo’s fault that the brand value has not been recognized by the middle-class people.

For a long time, vivo’s mobile phones are known for their appearance, HIFI and camera configuration, and rarely mention cost performance and chip technology. Today, the young people in the small towns who have raised the banner of vivo have not only limited to the appearance and camera functions of mobile phones, but also the lifestyle and identity labels represented by the mobile phone brand. and identity.

The brand is not popular, lacks cost-effectiveness, and vivo, which has no functional advantages, has begun to be abandoned by young people in small towns. Misfortunes do not come singly, and high-end mobile phone brands have also begun to sink, attracting people’s hearts with low prices, which has drastically narrowed the living space of vivo. As a result, upgrading the brand image to seize mid-range consumers has become a top priority for vivo mobile phones.

So, how should the vivo brand systematically upgrade its brand image and improve its 5G mobile phone R&D technology to gain recognition from the “new crowd”?

The Pros and Cons of Small Town Youth

The reason for the loss of vivo users is that on the one hand, users’ consumption concepts have changed, and their needs have not matched.

Most young people in small towns pursue stable jobs, have more space for consumption, and have stronger consumer demand. They favor domestic brands and are eager to live like the masses in first-tier cities. Among them, domestic clothing, domestic mobile phones, domestic cosmetics, and domestic brand cars are popular among young people in small towns, because these products are affordable, innovative and trendy.

This is also the reason why domestic mobile phones such as vivo and OPPO were able to take root and monopolize the sinking market at the beginning.

Penguin research platform pointed out in “Smartphones & Smart Hardware: 2019 Chinese Netizen Purchasing Power Report”: From the perspective of education and income, the users of OPPO and vivo brands are behind Huawei and Xiaomi.

With a bachelor’s degree or above, OPPO accounts for 4.9% of users, and vivo accounts for only 5.1%, while middle and junior high school and below account for more than 60%. The proportion of people with incomes above 8,000 yuan is 5.2% for OPPO and 6.9% for vivo. While the monthly income is less than 3,000 yuan, OPPO accounts for 59.7%, and vivo accounts for 58.4%.

At the same time, in the gender comparison of the stock users of first-tier mobile phone brands, the proportion of women in OPPO and vivo is about 60%; in terms of age, the users of OPPO and vivo are more young people between the ages of 20 and 29, and OPPO, vivo The users of the two companies are basically concentrated in third- and fourth-tier cities, accounting for nearly 65%.

From the data point of view, OPPO and vivo almost monopolize the mobile phone business in the small town.

At that time, for young people in small towns with the labels of “washing, cutting and blowing, pencil pants, billiard hall, cottage mobile phone”, vivo was a trendy product that was very close to their individual needs. Nowadays, with the development of economy, the consumption habits of third- and fourth-tier cities are seamlessly connected with first- and second-tier cities, and some young people in first- and second-tier cities are forced to live in third- and lower-tier cities. consumption habits have changed.

The user label reflects the label of the brand. The awakening of brand awareness among young people in small towns has led more and more users to choose mobile phone brands that look more high-end, and the sales of vivo mobile phones have been affected.

Market research firm Canalys’ 2019 smartphone market share report shows that China’s smartphone market shipped 97.8 million units in the third quarter, a slight increase from the 97.6 million units in the previous quarter, but still down 3% from the same period last year. Among them, vivo shipped 17.5 million units, and its market share fell to 17.9%. Compared with the same period in 2018, vivo’s mobile phone sales fell sharply by 23%. Similarly, OPPO shipped 17 million units with a market share of 17.4%, a year-on-year decrease of 20%;

In contrast, Huawei continued to maintain sales growth, with shipments reaching 41.5 million units, an increase of 66% year-on-year, and a market share of 42.4%. Obviously, more and more young people now give up the choice of vivo mobile phones and turn to Huawei.

It is worth noting that, in addition to the change in user consumption habits and the increasingly saturated smartphone market, the sales of vivo mobile phones have declined. The unclear positioning of vivo mobile phones and the loss of offline channels are also important reasons for its decline…

The loss of offline channels

From wired phones to smartphones, from Motorola and Nokia in the 2G era, Coolpad and Huawei in the 3G era, to Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo in the 4G era, a hundred flowers are blooming, and now Huawei and Samsung are making progress in the 5G era. With the change of the times, not only the functions of mobile phones have undergone earth-shaking changes, but the entire mobile phone market has also undergone many reshuffles.

Every time the industry changes, heroes will be created, and vivo was once a symbol of an era.

In 2011, my country’s mobile phones entered the era of smart phones from the era of feature phones. Vivo took the opportunity to launch the vivo X1, which has a full range of intelligent functions and novel Hi-Fi functions, which has aroused widespread praise in the market and has become a generation of classic models. Subsequently, vivo released the world’s first flagship mobile phone with a 2K screen, the vivo Xplay3S, which proved its own mobile phone manufacturing capabilities. Since then, the X3 series, X5 series, X9 series and other models have also been launched one after another, consolidating vivo’s position in the industry.

At the same time, the vivo mobile phone once relied on the huge number of offline stores, and it was the first smartphone of many young people in small towns.

On the one hand, after years of hard work, vivo has built a huge offline sales channel. In the early days, major brands worked online, but vivo went the opposite way, focusing on building offline channels. From small towns to second- and third-tier cities and even first-tier cities, there are vivo offline stores in most places.

It is reported that there are about 200,000 offline stores in vivo, including nearly 4,000 experience centers directly operated by vivo, experience stores directly operated by vivo agents, and exclusive stores plus franchised dealer stores. After a long period of accumulation, vivo’s offline stores can be seen in the streets and alleys at any time, reflecting vivo’s expansion strength. Such channel advantages are difficult to match with other brands.

On the other hand, vivo has strong marketing strength. In addition to offline advertisements, it has invested in variety show advertisements, tried advertisements on Moments, and launched customized products in cooperation with other brands. A series of marketing actions have strengthened the brand reputation of vivo.

vivo began to sponsor “Happy Camp” in 2013, and in the two years from 2015 to 2016, vivo participated in more than 25 variety shows. Including: “Happy Camp” and “Two Days and One Night”, “Where Are We Going Dad?”, “I Am a Singer”, “Mars Intelligence Agency”, “Tucao Conference”, “Wonderful Flower” and other well-known variety shows.

Moreover, vivo is good at using all marketing channels to increase brand awareness. For example: On January 25, 2015, the first WeChat Moments advertisement was launched, and vivo, BMW and Coca-Cola became the first batch of advertisers. vivo has also partnered with Pepsi to launch a customized version of Pepsi. At the same time, it sponsors FIFA (International Football Federation) to open up its popularity through international sports events and open up the road to overseas services.

Huge sales channels, distinctive products and marketing techniques have established vivo’s leading position in the domestic and foreign mobile phone markets.

During the peak period, vivo surpassed Huawei, Xiaomi and even Apple to become the runner-up in domestic mobile phone sales. According to data released by IDC, in the third quarter of 2016, vivo’s shipments in the Chinese market reached 19.2 million units, and vivo’s growth rate was an astonishing 101%. For the first time, it became the runner-up in the Chinese market, second only to OPPO. Huawei, Xiaomi and Apple ranked third to fifth in the current quarter.

It’s just that vivo rose quickly and fell quickly.

According to a research report by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, since domestic mobile phone shipments reached a historical peak of 660 million units in 2016, the data has been declining. In 2017, the year-on-year decline reached a double-digit 12.3%, and in 2018, the year-on-year decline reached 15.6%.

The arrival of the cold winter in the market is one of the reasons for the decline in sales. Under the overall shrinking market environment in the past three years, many manufacturers have experienced the “darkest moment” of declining sales and reduced share. Some brands have changed from mainstream to marginal, and some manufacturers have directly withdrawn from the market.

The main reason is that, with the gradual stabilization of the online brand pattern, major brands have begun to focus on the online and offline cake, and there are not many brands that come to grab food.

In recent years, first-tier mobile phone brands such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Samsung, and Apple have stepped up efforts to build offline stores. Since 2015, Huawei has deployed offline channel construction through the “Thousand County Plan”. Now Huawei’s retail positions have exceeded 53,000 worldwide; after the launch of Xiaomi’s main online mobile phone, the number of Xiaomi Home’s stores has exceeded 400. It is estimated that 1,000 stores will be opened in three years.

Huawei and Xiaomi are aiming at vivo offline stores, creating huge competitive pressure on vivo, and vivo, which has lost its offline share, has also lost its power offline. The competition in the mobile phone market has become more intense. Under such circumstances, vivo needs to rethink how to maintain its product position.

The confrontation of “product + sub-brand”

In the past few years, the Internet mobile phone market has been surging, and the competition among mobile phone manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Coolpad, vivo, and OPPO has become more and more diverse, and the war from product functions to brand reputation has continued to spread. The competition for the survival of the fittest is natural selection, and vivo changes with the changes of the market. The honor of the former “camera phone” has gradually dimmed, and it has also fallen behind in the creation of sub-brands.

1.Camera phone label aging

There is a saying in the e-commerce market, “Whoever wins women wins the world”.

With the awakening of the consumption power of the female market, the status of female users in the mobile phone market has become more and more prominent. Female audiences have a high probability of switching and do not have strong requirements for the performance of mobile phones. They only have requirements for the appearance and camera functions of mobile phones. Willing to spend money to buy pleasure. As a result, women’s mobile phones have become a fragrant pastry for a while, and various products focusing on camera phones have flocked.

At the end of 2016, vivo launched the vivo X9 series, featuring “20MP soft-light dual-camera at the front”, which not only provided the top front-end dual-camera combination on the market, but was also equipped with the second-generation Moonlight soft light. The powerful camera function and the slogan “illuminate your beauty” make the vivo X9 series the “best photography” mobile phone, and it is also praised as a super selfie tool by many users. vivo has opened up the camera phone market. .

The vivo X9 series made vivo’s camera function a hit, and the vivo X20 deepened people’s impression of vivo’s “best camera phone”.

In 2017, vivo concocted and launched the vivo X20 in accordance with the law, with 24 million photosensitive units and the fastest 0.03s ultra-fast focusing, it still has extremely high pixel performance in the face of backlight and night scenes, and the advertising slogan “Backlight is also clear” It is equally popular and widely circulated. It is worth mentioning that vivo also won the “Best Camera Phone of the Year Award” awarded by the Swan Award, the highest mobile phone award in China, with the X20.

Vivo has achieved such honor in the camera function of mobile phones because there is a “technical army” behind it. It is reported that on the camera module, vivo cooperates with module giants Oufeiguang, Sunny Technology, Qiutai Technology and Truly International; on the camera chip, it cooperates with Samsung; on the camera lens, it cooperates with Largan. Cooperation; cooperation with Megvii Technology in 3D face recognition.

“Camera phone” used to be the label of vivo, but now this label is gradually replaced by Huawei.

Nowadays, when it comes to taking pictures with mobile phones, people’s first reaction is Huawei. The recent hot “moon shooting trend”, “telescope phone”, “Leica quad camera” and other labels are the reasons why Huawei P30 Pro has become a popular camera phone.

The Huawei P30 Pro is claimed to be a “telescope” because the P30 Pro uses a quad-camera design (a 40-megapixel cine camera, a 40-megapixel super-sensitive camera, an 8-megapixel telephoto camera, and 3D deep-sensing camera), through the 40 million super-sensing and 20 million super wide-angle on-board 8 million super zoom, the user’s line of sight is elongated, shaping the peak zoom capability of Huawei mobile phones.

In addition, Huawei has also satisfied users’ photography demands for macro, backlight photography, low-light photography, smart beauty, and anti-shake. The word-of-mouth communication of Huawei P30 Pro, coupled with brand value, makes Huawei the representative of “camera phones” .

The development of technology and the changes of the times have made the trend of mobile phones replacing cameras intensify, and cameras have become the main selling point of many mobile phone manufacturers. Under this general trend, the quality of mobile phone cameras will affect users’ judgment on mobile phone brands.

For mobile phone manufacturers, the competition of each mobile phone function reflects its own comprehensive strength. Labels such as “waterproof”, “camera phone”, “cost-effective”, “fast charging” and so on show brand power and attract niche users. The only magic weapon. Now, losing the “camera phone” label of vivo is equivalent to losing its right-hand man.

2.Sub-brands fall behind

Sub-brands are blooming everywhere, which is the status quo of the domestic Internet mobile phone market. Huawei & Honor, OPPO & realme, OnePlus, Xiaomi & Redmi, POCOPHONE, Black Shark, Meitu are one step ahead to expand their territory. In 2019, vivo and its sub-brand iQOO were long overdue.

In the Internet market, when the parent brand progresses slowly or stagnates, the sub-brand is equivalent to a “traction line”, leading the parent brand to expand outward, and the parent brand will also give financial assistance to the sub-brand, and the same is true in the mobile phone market.

On the one hand, the growth of vivo offline channels has slowed down, and the establishment of the iQOO sub-brand has added new channels. As mentioned earlier, vivo’s offline channels have lost ground, and they are basically in a stage of slow growth, and rivals are coming. The establishment of the sub-brand iQOO can help vivo expand online channels, and also help vivo cover some new populations, such as those in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

On the other hand, competitors such as Xiaomi, Huawei, and OPPO have successively launched sub-brands, which has put vivo under pressure. Honor is the “originator” of mobile phone manufacturers to set up a sub-brand path, and it is also the most successful example so far. After Honor successfully broke through, OnePlus became independent from OPPO; then, the Redmi brand was also independently operated by Xiaomi in 2019.

The successively derived sub-brands have expanded the user coverage of mobile phone manufacturers, and their market share has also expanded. Vivo also realizes that only by establishing sub-brands to deeply cultivate sub-groups and expand the scope of services can it grow rapidly and not be opened up by rivals.

It is understood that the mobile phone launched by iQOO this time focuses on “high performance” and the price is very “people-friendly”. Such a positioning can help vivo get rid of the label of “Idol School”, and in the future, it will not rule out that vivo will have room to enter markets other than its current positioning. As the development grows stronger, iQOO will gradually begin to develop more diverse price ranges and higher performance research and development.

However, Honor and Redmi have matured, OnePlus and Black Shark are ready to go, and iQOO’s fledgling competitiveness is obviously insufficient. In terms of cost performance, vivo is not as capable as Xiaomi; in terms of photography, vivo is not as powerful as Huawei; in terms of offline channels, OPPO is also better than vivo.

In the 4G era, in the fierce brand competition, vivo slowly advanced and almost lost itself, but the 5G market is another world.

5G inflection point

To be honest, since entering the 5G era, vivo’s reputation has become higher and higher.

As we all know, 2019 is the first year of 5G, and 2020 will be the explosive year of 5G mobile phones. Since the issuance of 5G licenses in China, the changes brought about by 5G have intensified. While the 5G industry is developing rapidly, mobile phone manufacturers have also accelerated the pace of launching 5G mobile phones.

IDC, an internationally renowned research firm, predicts that global 5G smartphone shipments are expected to reach 123.5 million units in 2020, accounting for 8.9% of total smartphone shipments, and this proportion is expected to rise to 28% by 2023 .1%. At the same time, China Mobile Terminal Corporation pointed out that in 2020, China Mobile’s 5G mobile phone market will exceed 100 million, more than 10 mobile phone brands will launch 5G mobile phones, and 100 5G mobile phones will be launched one after another.

In the tide of 5G mobile phones, vivo is at the forefront of the launch. It launched two 5G flagship mobile phones within a month and won the quarterly 5G sales champion.

According to data from research firm IDC, in the third quarter of 2019 China’s 5G mobile phone market share statistics, vivo won the first place with a market share of 54%. At the same time, the quality of vivo’s iQOO Pro 5G, vivo NEX3 5G, vivo X30 series, and other products have been highly recognized and won a good reputation in the industry.

According to the latest benchmarking data of AnTuTu’s Androd flagship mobile phone performance rankings, vivode’s three flagship products swept the top three. The vivo iQOO Neo 855 racing version has an average running score of more than 500,000, ranking first. Vivo iQOO Pro 5G and NEX 3 5G followed, ranking second and third on the list respectively.

The reason why vivo can top the list is all because vivo has planned ahead in 5G and made a layout early.

Since 2016, vivo has successively set up 5G R&D centers in Beijing and other places. It has also participated in the standard formulation of 3GPP 5G by the Standards Association and invested heavily in the research and development of 5G prototypes. Fully prepared in terms of 5G technology, processor system, camera function, mobile phone configuration, cost performance, etc.

The application of products such as vivo iQOO Neo 855, vivo iQOO Pro 5G and NEX 3 5G marks the basic maturity of vivo’s technology research in 5G.

However, in the 5G market, Huawei, Samsung and other brands have more professional, mature and complete teams, and have reserved a large number of patents on core technologies such as screens, memory and chips. Compared with vivo, the technology is far from the same. Moreover, one of the reasons for the high sales of vivo 5G mobile phones is the low price. With the development of 5G mobile phones, the price advantage of vivo will soon disappear, and the shortcomings of the lack of technology will be more prominent at that time.

To put it simply, the biggest problem with vivo is that there is always a day when the family is sitting on the mountain, and there is no new channel that can break through. Even in the 5G field, it is limited by technology and lacks the strength to compete with its opponents. In the future, whether this situation can be broken depends on whether vivo can consolidate its technical capabilities and whether it can find its own allies. After all, weaving gorgeous coats is not a long-term solution, and having the hard power to make chips is the way to survive.

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