According to analysts at Canalys, the Chinese smartphone market as a whole has fallen by 15% in the third quarter; it has gone from 119 million units sold in 2017 to 101 million units sold in 2018. At the same time, Apple has started losing market share in China as well.
While the American consumer electronics behemoth is certainly top in terms of revenue gained, that is largely attributable to the astronomical price tags associated with its phones. In terms of units shipped, it trails far behind the leader Huawei, at 5th place.
(Image Source: GSM Arena)
Clearly, the exorbitant iPhone prices have made it difficult for Apple to maintain volume shipments to China, where the average selling price for smartphones is $300. In an attempt to boost its sales, Apple has reverted to its trade-in program, but it faces a few obstacles.
For one, the constrained discounts offered at Apple Stores are hardly appealing for Chinese consumers. Naturally, they either give up on trading their older iPhones, or they look towards alternatives, which brings us to the next obstacle.
The rise of second-hand device companies in China, particularly Aihuishou, has allowed consumers over there to easily sell their older iPhones without having to invest in the newer models. This has obviously dented Apple’s chances of maintaining new device volumes in China.
Furthermore, the increasingly tense US-China relations can affect consumer preferences in China. Considering the recent iPhone sales ban, the risk of Apple products getting banned over there altogether can’t be discounted.
As far as the Chinese market winners are concerned, the Oppo A5 was the most popular smartphone in the third quarter, while Huawei’s Honor series has been largely responsible for making it the market leader.