iPhone sales plummet in China as Huawei makes a comeback

23 Apr 2024

Image: © Heorshe/Stock.adobe.com

Huawei saw massive growth of nearly 70pc of its smartphone sales in China at the start of 2024, while Apple sales fell by 19pc in the same period.

Apple is feeling pressure in the smartphone market this year, as the dominance of the iPhone in China has fallen despite a market recovery.

That’s according to a new report from Counterpoint Research, which claims smartphone sales in China grew by 1.5pc in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period last year. This marks the second consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth for China, mirroring the recovery being witnessed in the global smartphone market.

Counterpoint estimates this recovery will continue, as it predicts “low single-digit” growth for the rest of 2024. The report noted that the rise of generative AI has already seen Chinese original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) integrating AI-powered features into their flagship devices.

Mengmeng Zhang, a senior analyst with Counterpoint, described the start of 2024 as “the most competitive quarter ever” in China, as there is only a difference of 3pc market share separating the top six players.

“Smartphone OEMs compete fiercely during the festive period, finalising various marketing and promotional strategies well in advance,” Zhang said. “In particular, Chinese OEMs, with their ample cost-effective offerings, capitalise on the surge in sales in the low-end segment as migrant workers purchase more affordable, budget smartphones when returning home for the holidays. This trend further narrowed the market share gap among major players.”

Huawei rises as Apple falls

Counterpoint said Huawei stood out in the first quarter of 2024 as the best performer, with massive growth of nearly 70pc compared to the same period in 2023. The report attributed Huawei’s growth to the successful launch of the 5G-capable Mate 60 series, along with “enduring brand reputation”.

This sudden growth saw Huawei take 15.5pc of the total market share, just behind Apple’s 15.7pc and Honor’s 16.1pc. Honor saw growth of 11.5pc in this quarter.

Apple previously held the top position in the first quarter of 2023 but suffered a year-over-year drop of more than 19pc in the first quarter of 2024, falling down to third position in the market. Vivo had a minor drop in the last quarter, but managed to take the top spot in the first quarter of 2024 with 17.4pc of the market share.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic