Smartphone sales in Q1 in China declined by 4pc year-on-year and 8pc on the previous quarter, marking the first time in six years that the country’s smartphone market has contracted.
That’s according to new statistics released by US-based market research firm IDC, which also found Apple to now be the top smartphone vendor in China with 14.7pc of total shipments, overtaking Xiaomi (13.7pc). Huawei (11.4pc) is in third with Samsung (9.7pc) and Lenovo (8.3pc), both of which led the market at least once last year, in fourth and fifth respectively.
Apple claiming the top spot is hardly surprising considering its mammoth last quarter in China, where sales grew by a huge 71pc to US$16.8bn.
IDC predicts relatively flat growth for China in 2015, pointing at China’s increasingly saturated smartphone market as the reason for slowing sales.
“China is oftentimes thought of as an emerging market, but the reality is that the vast majority of phones sold in China today are smartphones, similar to other mature markets like the US, UK, Australia, and Japan,” said Kitty Fok, managing director at IDC China.
“Just like these markets, convincing existing users as well as feature phone users to upgrade to new smartphones will now be the key to further growth in the China market.”
With the market in China slowing down, IDC says Chinese vendors will now focus on increasing their presence in India, as well as south-east Asia. The company also predicts vendors to further expand their channels into more vendor-branded retail shops, direct online sales, and eTailers as they try to save on the costs attached to dealing with traditional distributors.
Shanghai Apple Store image via Shutterstock