Analysis of the 2023 Chinese Smartphone Market
In 2024, several market research agencies such as Counterpoint and Canalys successively released the shipment data for the Chinese smartphone market in 2023, providing a more intuitive understanding of the previous year’s smartphone market. Looking at the shipment data from these agencies, there is no difference in the ranking of the top 5 brands by shipment volume. Despite facing fierce competition from Huawei, Apple firmly maintained its leading position, thanks to aggressive pricing strategies and the enduring appeal of the iPhone, along with a loyal user base. Meanwhile, domestic manufacturers also performed well, with OPPO holding the third position and Huawei experiencing a significant 52.1% surge in shipments, aiming to break into the top five.
It must be noted that despite criticism from many users about the iPhone 15 series being incremental, Apple’s efforts in the upgrade were substantial. For instance, they directly transferred the dynamic island and 48-megapixel main camera from the previous generation Pro model to the popular iPhone 15/15 Plus models. Moreover, the entire iPhone 15 series now comes with a Type-C interface. Also, the “Super Cup” model introduced a new periscope telephoto lens, elevating the iPhone’s photography capabilities, demonstrating Apple’s commitment. These developments undoubtedly solidified Apple’s leading position in the Chinese market.
On the other hand, domestic manufacturers not only fiercely competed in the conventional smartphone market but also entered the foldable screen market. The level of competition in the foldable screen market was just as intense as the conventional smartphone market. In the small foldable screen market, according to the latest quarterly report from IDC, OPPO, ranking third in domestic shipments, won the top spot in the 2023 domestic small foldable screen market with its compact foldable product, the Find N3 Flip. This achievement indicates OPPO’s strong influence in the domestic market and its remarkable development and product capabilities in the foldable screen domain.
As a next-generation foldable screen, the OPPO Find N3 Flip not only introduced the industry’s first super-sensing triple-camera system but also included a 50-megapixel main camera, a 32-megapixel 2x professional portrait camera, along with Hasselblad portrait and color adjustment features. This significantly improved the imaging capabilities of the small foldable screen, making it popular among female users.
Furthermore, the OPPO Find N3 Flip addressed the pain points of the small foldable screen market. It not only introduced a compact and lightweight body design but also incorporated the flagship Dimensity 9200 processor, a 4300mAh large battery, and 44W fast charging. Whether it is high performance, long battery life, or fast charging, the phone excels in all aspects. In addition, its design continued the trend of the large external screen, which further improved the usability and efficiency of the small foldable screen, naturally attracting more consumers and helping OPPO secure the championship position in the small foldable screen market.
In the 2023 smartphone market, Apple stands as the benchmark for conventional flagship phones, while OPPO can be considered a model in the small foldable screen segment, offering consumers a diverse range of products. As we step into 2024, with the rise of AIGC, AI-equipped smartphones have become a new trend in the industry. Major manufacturers have entered this market, and OPPO’s first high-end flagship Find X7 series became the industry’s first smartphone to feature a side-loading 7-billion parameter large model. Not only did it achieve industry-leading AI performance, but its features such as OPPO AI Clear, AI Call Summary, and the new Xiao Bu Assistant significantly improved the usability of smartphones, effectively integrating AI technology into our daily mobile experience. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the standard version achieved a sales growth of 317% on the first day of its launch.
Of course, OPPO’s outstanding performance can be attributed to its excellent product capabilities and strong innovative capacity. Currently, OPPO has filed over 98,000 global patents, with the number of granted patents surpassing 54,000. Its share of invention patent applications has reached 91%, covering various areas, including 5G, imaging, fast charging, and artificial intelligence. This robust technical foundation has underpinned OPPO’s outstanding product capabilities, leading to a series of highly anticipated products.
In conclusion, the competition in the smartphone market is becoming increasingly fierce. To capture more market share, strong brand influence, excellent products, and robust technical capabilities are essential to stand out in the brand competition. Currently, Apple remains dominant in the high-end market, while domestic manufacturers are rising steadily. For instance, OPPO has secured the top position in the vertical foldable market and is leading the way in the booming AI field with its Find X7 series. It is expected that 2024 will bring more exciting products. Let’s look forward to what the future holds.