Apple iPhone Sales In China Plummet 24 Percent

New data from Counterpoint reveals Apple iPhone sales in China have plummeted 24 percent in the first six weeks of 2024

The scale of Apple’s struggles in one of the largest smartphone markets in the world has been revealed in new research.

New data from Counterpoint Research has revealed that during the first six weeks of 2024 smartphone unit sales in China declined by 7 percent year-on-year.

It comes after Counterpoint last month had highlighted a worrying sign for mobile manufacturers after US sales of smartphones in January fell significantly, amid weak demand.

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China sales

Last month Counterpoint found that US smartphone sales had plunged 10 percent in January on weak demand for cheaper Android devices, and as customers delayed upgrades ahead of the launch of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S24 series.

But now in fresh research, Counterpoint has revealed equally troubling news for Apple in another huge smartphone market – namely China.

It found that Apple iPhone sales in China fell 24 percent over the period, due to stiff competition and an abnormally high January 2023.

And it is not just Apple, but other manufacturers as well. Counterpoint Research’s latest China Smartphone Weekly Sell-through Tracker revealed that Apple, OPPO and vivo are witnessing double-digit declines.

However Apple’s main competitor in China in premium smartphones, Huawei, saw unit sales rise by 64 percent in the period, according to the new data, thanks to strong demand for its Mate 60 series.

The Huawei Mate 60 Pro. Image Credit Huawei

It is clear that Apple iPhone struggled during the first few weeks of the year for several reasons.

“Primarily, it faced stiff competition at the high end from a resurgent Huawei while getting squeezed in the middle on aggressive pricing from the likes of OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi,” said Counterpoint senior analyst Mengmeng Zhang.

“Although the iPhone 15 is a great device, it has no significant upgrades from the previous version, so consumers feel fine holding on to the older-generation iPhones for now,” said Zhang.

Consumer confidence

It should be remembered that in January this year it was revealed that Apple was offering extremely unusual iPhone discounts in China, as it faced increased competition from domestic rivals and slowing demand.

“Consumer confidence will need to rise to stabilise the market, but it is a tough call right now with everything that is happening, especially in the real estate sector,” said Counterpoint’s senior analyst Ivan Lam.

“As far as Apple is concerned, there is more wriggle room in the short term,” said Lam. “This weekend’s aggressive promotions are just one example.”

Apple is said to be offering fresh discounts in China.

Overall growth is likely to remain in the red during Q1 2024 on muted spending and a few new product launches, Counterpoint concluded.

All eyes will be firmly fixed on Apple’s second quarter results, after it forecast a drop in iPhone sales, and also forecast overall revenue $6 billion below Wall Street expectations.

Shares of the iPhone maker closed 2.8 percent lower on Tuesday and have lost about 12 percent of their value so far this year, underperforming their big tech peers in the United States.

Counterpoint’s report said Apple’s share of the Chinese smartphone market dropped to 15.7 percent, putting it in fourth place, compared with second place in the year-ago period when it had 19 percent market share.

Huawei rose to second place as its market share expanded to 16.5 percent from 9.4 percent a year earlier.