Apple Takes the Lead in Chinese Smartphone Market Sales in 2023, Faces Tough Year Ahead
In spite of the fact that the iPhone 15 series is still considered an incremental upgrade, its sales continue to dominate even after price reductions. According to IDC, Apple secured the top spot in terms of sales in the Chinese smartphone market in 2023. It is worth mentioning that this is also the first time Apple has achieved the highest annual sales in China since entering the market.
Yu Chengdong once shared an article titled “Fall to Huawei, Feast on Apple,” indicating that Huawei has ceded a significant portion of its high-end market share to Apple. Achieving the top spot in the Chinese smartphone market share in 2023, Apple has truly feasted on its success.
However, replicating this accomplishment in the current year presents a significant challenge for Apple.
Looking at the data, Apple’s victory seems rather tentative. In 2023, Apple held a market share of 17.3% in the Chinese smartphone market, and the margin with the following four brands (Honor – 17.1%, OPPO – 16.7%, vivo – 16.5%) was not substantial.
More significantly, one of Apple’s strongest competitors, Huawei, displayed signs of resurgence following the release of the Mate 60 series.
In the fourth quarter of 2023, Huawei ranked fourth in the Chinese smartphone market with a market share of 13.9%, marking a remarkable 36.2% year-on-year growth. Huawei was also the only top-five brand to achieve positive year-on-year growth in market share. The reason is simple – in a saturated market, one’s gain often comes at another’s expense.
Since last year’s Singles’ Day, prices for the iPhone 15 series have been on a continuous downward trend. Not only have prices through various retail channels decreased by over a thousand yuan, even the official website has begun to reduce prices.
In contrast, Huawei’s Mate 60 series has been in short supply since its launch at the end of August last year, making price reductions unlikely. Towards the end of last year, Huawei also released the nova 12 series, all of which, except for the standard edition, are equipped with the return of the Kirin chipset and support 5G.
In the first half of this year, Huawei’s main attraction will be the P70 series. According to current reports, the P70 series will continue to be powered by the Kirin 9000S chipset and will also feature the first-ever 1-inch IMX989 sensor, aiming to deliver the most powerful imaging capabilities in history.
The second half of the year will see the launch of the Mate 70 series, which is expected to utilize an upgraded version of the Kirin 9000S chipset – the Kirin 9010, delivering not only stronger performance but also lower power consumption.
In addition to the P70 and Mate 70 series, Huawei will also iterate its foldable screen series, introducing new models such as the Pocket S2, Mate X6, Mate Xs3, along with the nova 13/14 series, and the Enjoy series. It seems that Huawei has quite an array of cards to play.
According to industry insiders, Huawei is confident about the year 2024 and has set a shipment target of 100 million units for smartphones, which could potentially dethrone Apple and regain the top spot in China without much difficulty.
In 2023, Apple feasted on its success. It secured the top spot in annual sales in China for the first time, but it seems unlikely to replicate that success this year. With Huawei’s resurgence, it will be quite challenging for Apple to maintain its current position.
Who do you think will dominate the Chinese smartphone market in 2024 – Huawei or Apple?