Apple tops Chinese smartphone sales, even as market declines

Apple is leading the pack in China, pushed by strong sales of its flagship, defying strong headwinds and the overall contraction of the Chinese market.

Observers tend to view China and its market as a never ending supply of potential customers and as a developing market of vital importance to most companies. However, according to a report from IDC, that way of thinking about the third largest economy in the world might soon be at odds with reality, at least when it comes to smartphones.

The Chinese smartphone market is apparently close to saturation and has suffered its first decline in the past 6 years, contracting by 4.3% compared to the same time in 2014. That’s means there were 5 million smartphones that did not get sold during this first quarter of 2015, despite the fact that some companies saw very strong growth.

Leading the pack, both in terms of sales and growth, is none other than Apple, whose iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets proved to be smashing hits across the world. The American company managed to sell 14.5 million smartphones in the first three months of the year for a total of 14.7% market share in country. That’s up from 8.9 million respectively 8.7%, representing a year over year growth of more than 62%. In other words, Apple is doing very well in one of the largest markets on Earth.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi is still a strong contender and took second place on this chart, with 42.3% yearly growth and a 13.7% overall market share in China. Though the company is still very successful it has started feeling the bite of its competitors, which are pushing affordable handsets as much as they can.

Huawei comes in third, while Samsung and Lenovo, both of whom were at number one last year in different quarters, are now rounding up the bottom of the chart. Samsung had the biggest problems, selling 11 million phones fewer compared to this time last year, a contraction of over 50% and a decline in marketshare of almost 11 percentage points.

Finally the Chinese market as a whole seems poised to not only slow down but actually contract further, with very strong competition from companies both outside and inside the country. And with such as important part of the world being just as saturated as the US or Western Europe, companies will now have to adapt once again, and refocus their efforts somewhere else.

Source and Charts: IDC via: TechCrunch

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