iPhone Sales Drop 24% in China, Faces Stiff Competition from Huawei

Apple is facing strong competition from Android phones like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi with a 24% decline in sales in the first six weeks of 2024.

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Apple iPhone Sales Drop 24% in China, Faces Stiff Competition from Huawei

Apple witnessed a significant drop in iPhone sales in China, dropping by 24%, in the first six weeks of 2024, according to a report from Counterpoint Research. The decline is attributed to strong competition from local smartphone giants like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

Counterpoint Research noted that while several Chinese smartphone companies experienced drops in unit sales during the same period, Apple’s decline was more pronounced. Oppo faced a 29% year-on-year decrease in smartphone shipments, while Vivo and Xiaomi logged declines of 15% and 7%, respectively.

Huawei, in particular, exerted substantial pressure on Apple’s market share in China. The Chinese tech giant experienced a resurgence in its consumer business with the launch of its Mate 60 smartphone. Huawei’s smartphone unit shipments saw an impressive 64% year-over-year increase in the first six weeks of 2024. Additionally, shipments of Honor, a spinoff from Huawei, increased by 2%.

Neil Shah, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, highlighted Huawei’s comeback strategy, stating, “Huawei is making a comeback, trying to win back the defectors to iPhone from a couple of years ago.” Shah noted that while Apple experienced some erosion in market share, other non-Apple brands in the premium segment also felt the heat from Huawei’s resurgence.

The report indicates that Apple faced a challenging environment in the Chinese market, with intense competition from local manufacturers, particularly Huawei. Huawei’s Mate 60, equipped with 5G connectivity, played a crucial role in the company’s revival, attracting customers who had previously switched to iPhones due to the lack of 5G in Huawei’s devices. Explaining Apple’s challenges, Shah mentioned,

“Apple also had abnormally higher ‘sell-through’ in January 2023 vs. 2024 as the supply shifted to January after the China factory debacle in the fourth quarter of 2022.”

Apple’s supply chain encountered disruptions in late 2022 due to Covid-19 lockdowns in China. The decline in iPhone sales poses a notable challenge for Apple in maintaining its position in the competitive Chinese smartphone market.

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