Apple's iPhone skid in China continues, with another big hit to start 2024

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in iPhone

Apple is having a tough quarter in China, with new research claiming that Apple's iPhone sales are down 19.1% year-over-year.

A white smartphone with dual cameras lies on a textured grey fabric surface, partially showcasing its side buttons.
Apple's iPhone 15



All smartphone sales have been in decline in China for some years, but recent reports had said the market was stabilizing. Other reports have said that iPhone sales in the country dropped 56% between January 2024 and February 2024, though this is traditionally when Apple's sales are lowest.

Now new figures from Counterpoint Research have compared like for like quarters, charting Q1 2024 against Q1 2023. Citing Huawei's 69.9% year on year growth as the major factor, Counterpoint says that the iPhone dropped 19.1% over the same period.

Bar chart comparing China smartphone sales market share for Q1 2023 vs Q1 2024 with percentage changes for leading brands.
Smartphone sales in China (Source: Counterpoint Research)



The company says that Huawei has targeted the same premium market as Apple, but also notes that upgrade demand for the iPhone has been "slightly subdued compared to previous years."

During Apple's earnings call in February 2024, the company reported that sales in China were down 13% year over year. That amounts to $20.82 billion in iPhone sales in China.

Counterpoint does say that it is charting "slow but steady improvement" in iPhone sales "from week to week." It also expects that AI announcements at WWDC could have a marked impact, although presumably not until the launch of the iPhone 16.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    Given the fact that Xiaomi's electric car SU7 and Huawei sales soar, blaming on the Chinese economy is nonsense. 

    No matter if the economy is screwed up or not. People are always willing to spend money on cool products.

    Having said that, iPhone is not cool anymore.

    Also their AI strategy is slow and behind in contrast to others. 

    iPhone 16 with iOS18 will be very important for Apple in the history to get the curve for the future. 
    edited April 23
  • Reply 2 of 5
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,346member
    Since WeChat is the “ecosystem” in China, it doesn’t matter as much which phone you buy. 

    So I’m wondering if owning an iPhone in China has always been more about fashion and politics than anything else. Maybe buying from American companies has become less popular in China. 

    Sucks for apple shareholders, but apple customers in the rest of the world won’t be hurt by this — if anything, it will make Apple appreciate the rest of us even more.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 5
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,774member
    blastdoor said:
    Since WeChat is the “ecosystem” in China, it doesn’t matter as much which phone you buy. 

    So I’m wondering if owning an iPhone in China has always been more about fashion and politics than anything else. Maybe buying from American companies has become less popular in China. 

    Sucks for apple shareholders, but apple customers in the rest of the world won’t be hurt by this — if anything, it will make Apple appreciate the rest of us even more.
    That may be partly true for software and, in a way, on that side at least, it does act as a kind of abstraction layer.

    But then you have the phone itself and the buzz around it. Apple plays one card and then sits back for a year and waits to play the next one. 

    Competitors bring new features to market every few months and the resulting marketing heft does the rest. 

    Huawei has just released the Pura 70 series which sold out in seconds and will probably stay that way for months. The same thing happened last August with the Mate 60 series and that is the release that supposedly put the skids on Apple in China. 

    For years now, cameras have been the main marketing focus. Apple has not really been among the top players in those years in terms of camera innovation. 

    Perhaps we are seeing a shift to AI recently but cameras will still play a major role. 

    Then there is the hardware ecosystem, for which no one is likely to top Xiaomi or Huawei on home turf. That of course includes cars, where Huawei is putting HarmonyOS on a large variety of models. Xiaomi is following a similar path to Huawei with HyperOS (although it is still based on Android) and also has a car coming to market which is seeing high demand. 

    The hardware side needs to interoperate and obviously wireless is how that is done. Again, Apple is lagging against things like NearLink and 5G based technologies.

    Even at launch the latest iPhones weren't really a compelling proposition as Apple insists on drip feeding features to users and the 'performance' side of things is demonstrably not a major issue when virtually no one has seen their phones lacking in that area for literally years. 

    It all kind of adds up to a mini perfect storm but in the specific case of China, Apple warned things wouldn't be great at the last earnings call so news like this (if it plays out in the end) aren't really a surprise. 
    blastdoor
  • Reply 4 of 5
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,991member
    Where's the Google Pixel or Samsung? :smile: 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 5
    The price of an iPhone 15 Pro 256GB in Chinese TEMU is $1000 with 13% tax included, from the end of 2023. It released at $1250. Never seen such a price drop. Customers in China really care better thermal design and better battery life, better cellular performance. Base model iPhone came without any of them. And lack of ProMotion closes its coffin. Pro Max/Plus only improve in battery life. People play Genshin on their phone, and 5G waves are everywhere but crowded there. The sustain performance of A17 Pro is garbage compared to A15/A16, not even close to Snapdragon 8 Gen 3/Dimensity 9300. Apple Silicons really have to improve at every corner except IPC. I don't think the customer who buy Huawei Mate 60/Pura 70 Series switched from iPhone, but from their old Android phone. Apple still have a user base, but they're sticking with older products like iPhone 13 Pro. There's no reason to buy a new one. Imagine, today you have a MacBook Pro with M1 Pro, a M1 iPad Pro, an iPhone 13 Pro Max, and an Apple Watch Series 7. Great experience and no complaints for another 3 years. Maybe that's why Apple is skyrocketing their battery service fee. There's no significant upgrades since then, except thermal performance is much worse on today products, Apple Watch not included.
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