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The Apple of China’s Eye: iPhone Sales Plunge Pushes Apple to Fourth Place Behind Vivo and Huawei

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iPhone 15 Pro Max camera 2

Shift in Power Dynamics

Apple Inc’s iPhone sales in China spiraled down by 24% in the initial six weeks of the year, resulting in a humbling descent to the fourth spot among smartphone providers in the country, per Counterpoint Research data.

This downturn cleared the path for Vivo, an adept Dongguan-originated entity that excels in the budget segment, to surpass Apple and claim the throne as China’s top smartphone vendor.

Despite both entities grappling with dwindling sales figures, the wider smartphone landscape in China contracted by 7%, casting a shadow of doubt on any swift market resurgence, according to insights from Bloomberg.

Market Phenomenon

Amidst this market maelstrom, Huawei Technologies Co. seized the moment, leveraging the success of its Mate 60 Pro series and a surge in patriotic purchases to bolster its market share from 9.4% to a commanding 16.5%.

Meanwhile, Honor Device Co., which parted ways with Huawei in 2020, emerged as the sole major player to witness growth in unit sales, mustering a modest 2% uptick.

Apple’s Conundrum

Conversely, Apple’s market share in China shriveled from 19% to a rather paltry 15.7% from the preceding year, underscoring the challenging terrain it found itself navigating.

Responding to the market headwinds, Apple rolled out uncharacteristic discounts on its online platform in January, while several online retailers slashed prices by up to $180. Counterpoint analyst Ivan Lam pointed out that despite waning consumer confidence, Huawei adeptly met the clamor for its popular Mate 60 series, owing to streamlined production capabilities.

A Glimmer of Hope

Lam highlighted that the baseline period for sales comparison was already meager, offering Apple a modicum of leeway to incentivize demand. This was evidenced by the aggressive promotional activities leading up to Women’s Day.

Recent reports disclosed steep discounts on the iPhone 15 series in China from resellers, hinting at a diminishing appetite for Apple’s offerings in the region.

Market Response and Outlook

Apple’s sales in China took a 13% nosedive, amounting to $20.8 billion in the December quarter, marking a disheartening performance for the tech giant.

Investors eyeing exposure to Apple can consider avenues like Vanguard Information Tech ETF (VGT) and SPDR Select Sector Fund – Technology (XLK) to navigate the turbulent waters of the stock market.

AAPL shares were trading lower by 2.25% at $171.16 premarket the last time they were checked on Tuesday.

Also Read: Apple Rival Huawei Doubles Smartphone Sales As US Restrictions Prepare to Kick In

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo via Shutterstock

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