Apple products are very popular all over the world. China is no exception. However, Chinese consumers prefer local brands that offer flagship smartphones at a lower cost than the iPhone. However, that didn’t stop Apple from becoming the largest smartphone supplier in the Chinese market in October.
Apple has experienced another spike in branded smartphone sales since the launch of the iPhone 13 series in September this year, and this time, sales of the new products have been truly impressive. Apple ousted Vivo to become the number one smartphone supplier in China in October, according to research firm Counterpoint Research. The company took the leading position in the country for the first time since December 2015.
Counterpoint reports that iPhone shipments in China in October are up 46% from September. At the same time, the entire Chinese smartphone market grew by only 2% last month. In October, Apple took 22% of the Chinese market. Vivo comes next with 20%. Oppo accounts for 18%, while Huawei has to be content with 8%.
It’s worth noting that Apple’s success is partly due to the fall in Huawei’s sales in the home market. Smartphones of the Chinese brand often outperform Apple flagships in a number of parameters, including photo and video capabilities, and are in high demand in China. Nevertheless, the US sanctions dealt a serious blow to Huawei’s mobile business, which, due to limited access to chips, practically lost the ability to produce flagship devices with 5G support.
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Apple Becomes Largest Smartphone Brand in China in October 2021
Commenting on the market growth in China, Research Director Tarun Pathak said, “Ever since Huawei’s decline, the top position in China has been changing hands. OPPO became #1 in January 2021 while vivo attained the top position in March 2021. The market dynamics in changed again in October with Apple becoming the new #1 OEM for the first since December 2015. This was driven by the success of the iPhone 13 series, which was also launched cheaper than the iPhone 12 series in China. Huawei has been resilient in the premium segment in China, but this seems to be changing now. Apple, with its strong brand equity, is gaining the maximum from the gap left by Huawei in the premium segment. Apple could have gained more if it were not for the shortages, especially for the Pro versions. But still, Apple is managing its supply chain better than other OEMs.
Commenting on the supply shortages in China’s market, Senior Analyst Varun Mishra said, “Due to supply issues, the normal wait time for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max ranges between four and five weeks in China. Some Chinese customers choose to pay premiums to get the new phones delivered immediately. Overall, the China market has been slow throughout the year and Apple’s growth is a positive sign. It indicates that Chinese smartphone users are maturing fast; and are looking to buy more high-end devices, which can be a good opportunity for brands. The supply chain is also prioritizing higher-end and higher-margin devices amid the shortages.”