China has the world’s largest and also most competitive smartphone market. China’s smartphone market has been the largest globally for several years. This market is so competitive that only a few non-Chinese brands survive in the market. Recently, International Data Corporation (IDC), released the smartphone market report for the third quarter of 2022. The report shows that China’s smartphone shipments in the third quarter were about 71.13 million units. This is an 11% reduction from the same period last year. It continues the sluggish performance of the Chinese market in the first half of the year. However, the high-end market was less affected, with the overall share reaching 22.4%. This represents an increase of 1.9 percentage points year-on-year and 2.3 percentage points month-on-month.
Vivo returns to No. 1 in the Chinese smartphone market
An interesting aspect of the Chinese smartphone market is that it is dominated by Chinese brands. The top five smartphone brands in China are Vivo, Honor, OPPO, Apple and Xiaomi. Apart from Apple, all other brands on the top five list are Chinese. Also, only Apple recorded an increase in shipment year on year. All other four Chinese brands had a decline.
In the third quarter of this year, Vivo shipped about 14.2 million units. This is a year-on-year decrease of 20.5%, and its market share reached 20.0%. However, it returns to the top position in the Chinese market. Its sub-brand iQOO has been continuously recognized by the market with its good product strength and competitive price positioning. Its market share has continued to increase, reaching 4.6% of the Chinese market in the third quarter. The Vivo X series also performed well, maintaining a leading position in the Chinese mid-to-high-end market.
Honor’s shipments in the third quarter of this year were about 12.7 million units. This is a 9.1% decrease year-on-year, and its market share remais at 17.9%. Among them, the Honor 70 series maintains its rapid growth since its launch. With its very attractive appearance and good performance optimization, the Honor X40 series has quickly become a “popular” product since its launch. The Honor Play 30 series, Play 6 series and other products also continue to be important choices in the entry-level market.
OPPO shipped about 11.6 million units in the third quarter, down 27.9% year-on-year. The company has a market share of 16.3%, ranking third. Shipments of the Oppo Reno8 series continues to increase. It maintains its leading position in the mid-range market. The Oppo A57 and A97 models are the main models in OPPO’s shipments. These smartphones has shipments exceeding 1.5 million units.
Apple shipped about 10.8 million units in the third quarter, a year-on-year increase of 2.5%. It was the only mobile phone brand among the top five brands to maintain positive growth, with a market share of 15.1%. The two products of the iPhone 14 Pro series are very popular. Due to Apple’s lack of market expectations at the beginning, they are still in a state of tight supply so far. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have had a limited market response. This is due to their poor upgrades. However, many consumers still favour the iPhone 13 series.
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Xiaomi shipped about 9 million units in the third quarter, down 17.9% year-on-year. Its shipment accounts for 12.7% of the market share. Redmi is still the main force in shipments. The Redmi K50 series and Redmi Note 11 series are the main sales models. The newly launched Xiaomi 12S series has also gained a good market reputation. This will help to promote Xiaomi’s growth in the high-end market in the future.
Foldable smartphones are developing rapidly
This report shows that at present, major mobile phone manufacturers still mainly focus on a few areas for development. Some of the areas are the screen, camera, large memory and chip. However, there is a continuous investment in the research and development of foldable smartphones. In the third quarter of 2022, China’s foldable smartphone shipments exceed 1 million units. This is a year-on-year increase of about 246%. It is also the largest single-quarter shipment in history. This shows that consumers are increasingly accepting foldable smartphones.
Huawei leads the foldable market, and others follow
The face of the foldable smartphone market in China is much different from the regular smartphone list. Here, Huawei leads the market with its strong brand power and product strength. The Chinese manufacturing giant has a market share of 44.9%. Samsung’s Z Fold4 and Z Flip4 new products sold well, ranking second, accounting for 22.2% of the market share. The newly released Vivo X Fold series helped Vivo rise to third place in the foldable smartphone market. It has a market share of 11.9%. Xiaomi’s new MIX FOLD 2 has also won a better market reputation than the previous generation due to its thin and light appearance, and its market share has increased to 9.3%, ranking fourth. More manufacturers are now attaching importance to foldable smartphones. Thus, the number of foldable smartphones is set to increase. The expectation is that the price will continue to drop.
Guo Tianxiang, a senior analyst at IDC China, said at the third-quarter China smartphone market dynamic media communication conference that due to the impact of the domestic and foreign economic environment and some other factors, the Chinese smartphone market continued to be sluggish and difficult to recover in the short term. In the face of difficulties, industry participants have adopted a more pragmatic and prudent strategy. While reasonably and effectively controlling inventory, they still maintain or even increase their investment in product research and development. Whether it is from the hardware or software level, they strive to create distinctive products to stimulate more consumers’ desire to purchase.