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iPhone sales take a dip in China despite consecutive market growth

A image of iPhone 15 Pro with a plant

Counterpoint revealed in its latest report that China's smartphone market is on an upward trajectory and recorded a growth of 1.5% year-over-year (YoY) in Q1 2024. The analytics firm said it was the second consecutive quarter of positive YoY growth for the Chinese market.

However, that success didn't translate for Apple, whose market share declined by 19.1% YoY in Q1 2024 compared to the previous year's quarter. Apple's market share dipped from 19.7% in Q1 2023 to 15.7% in Q1 2024, the report said.

China Smartphone Sales Counterpoint Research
Source: Counterpoint Research

While vivo leads the pack with a 17.4% market share, Huawei is the one with a whopping 69.7% YoY growth in the first quarter. Counterpoint's senior research analyst Ivan Lam attributed Apple's poor performance to Huawei's comeback, which directly impacted the iPhone maker in the premium segment.

Huawei was able to eat a massive share in the $600+ premium segment following the launch of its Mate 60 series. There is a possibility of the iPhone's recovery in the coming future, according to the analyst, who said:

For the second quarter, the possibility of new color options combined with aggressive sales initiatives could bring the brand back into positive territory; and of course, we are waiting to see what its AI features will offer come WWDC in June. That has the potential to move the needle significantly longer term.

Counterpoint previously reported that the Apple iPhone captured 50% of the global smartphone revenue in 2023. The analytics firm attributed Apple's success to the ongoing "premiumization trends" and the stickiness of its ecosystem.

It's worth noting that the top six players in the Chinese market were only separated by 3% points in terms of market share. For reference, vivo recorded a market share of 17.4% and Xiaomi was at 14.6% in the first quarter. Senior analyst Mengmeng Zhang said this was due to fierce competition during the Chinese New Year festivities.

With their cost-effective offerings, Chinese OEMs were able to "capitalize on the surge in sales in the low-end segment as migrant workers purchase more affordable, budget smartphones when returning home for the holidays," the analyst said.

Speaking of vivo, although the company's growth slowed down a bit, its top spot in the quarter was propelled by Y35 Plus, Y36, and S18 models in the low to mid-end segment. The second spot holder, Honor, recorded a YoY growth of 11.5% by expanding in offline channels and launching models such as X50 and Play 40.

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