Apple’s sales drop in China as Huawei makes a comeback in the premium segment 

Apple’s smartphone shipments in China dropped by 19% in the first quarter of 2024 as Huawei made a comeback in the country’s premium segment

Published - April 24, 2024 02:46 pm IST

Apple’s smartphone shipments in China dropped by 19% in the first quarter of 2024.

Apple’s smartphone shipments in China dropped by 19% in the first quarter of 2024. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Apple’s smartphone shipments in China dropped by 19% in the first quarter of 2024, as the iPhone maker took a hit from Huawei’s comeback in the premium segment.

The Cupertino-based tech giant’s market share in China fell to 15.7% in the first quarter from 19.7% in the previous year, putting it almost at par with Huawei, which witnessed a sales jump of 70%, a Counterpoint report said.

Huawei’s growth is largely attributed to the successful launch of 5G capable models and its enduring brand reputation. However, despite Huawei’s comeback, other Chinese smartphone-makers like Honor managed to grow 11.5% YoY, driven by popular models, and offline channel expansion.

Overall, the Chinese smartphone market grew by about 4.6% QoQ in the first quarter of 2024 backed by sales promotions during the Chinese New Year festivities.

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The quarter was also the most competitive ever, with only 3% points separating the top six smartphone makers in the country. In particular, Chinese OEMs, with their ample cost-effective offerings, capitalised on the surge in sales in the low-end segment as migrant workers purchased more affordable devices, narrowing the gap among major players, the report said.

In terms of OEM’s performance Vivo gained the top spot with a 17.4% market share driven by strong sales of models in the low-end segment. Honor ranked in second with 16% market share, followed by Apple with a 15.7% share.

There are slow and steady improvements from week to week in iPhone’s performance, and the possibility of new colour options combined with aggressive sales initiatives could bring the brand back into positive territory. Additionally, AI features could also help the iPhone maker regain lost market share in the country, Senior Research Analyst Ivan Lam, at Counterpoint, said.

China is Apple’s third-biggest market and generated around 17% of its total revenue in the October-December quarter.

The drop in Apple’s market share in China comes even as the company took a hit of 10% globally in the first quarter of 2024.

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