Chinese smartphone sales fall, customers unimpressed by Apple’s new iPhone model

Chinese smartphone sales were down 7% in the first six weeks of 2024 compared with the same period last year, as customers showed a lack of interest in Apple’s newly launched iPhone 15 and instead turned towards devices made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei, new figures from Counterpoint Research showed.

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fell 3% on Tuesday after a rise of 14% over the previous 12 months.

Apple’s smartphone unit sales fell 24% in the first six weeks of 2024, as Chinese customers held onto earlier models instead of going out to buy the iPhone 15 which costs ¥5,999 ($833).

“Although the iPhone 15 is a great device, it has no significant upgrades from the previous version, so consumers feel fine holding on to the older-generation iPhones for now,” Counterpoint Research senior analyst Mengmeng Zhang said.

Apple’s sales were lower in comparison to the abnormally high volumes it experienced in the first six weeks of last year, after production issues in December 2022 pushed sales forwards in a shift that magnified the underwhelming year-on-year comparison.

Huawei, on the other hand, saw its unit sales increase 64% year-on-year in the first six weeks of 2024, on the back of surging demand for its Mate 60 high-end smartphone which launched in August 2023 and costs ¥6,999.

All other major smartphone markers, apart from former Huawei subsidiary Honor, saw their unit sales volumes fall year-on-year, with Chinese company Oppo experiencing the sharpest drop in seeing a 29% plunge in its sales volumes.

Apple’s sales were, in turn, impacted negatively by price competition from lower cost rivals including Oppo, Viva, and Xiaomi, who took on aggressive pricing strategies in seeking to boost their own dwindling sales.

The lower smartphone sales reflect wider issues in the Chinese economy, which is currently suffering from a major crisis in the real estate sector that has negatively impacted consumer confidence.

Smartphone sales are set to remain lower than last year over the first quarter of 2024, Counterpoint Research said. “Consumer confidence will need to rise to stabilize the market,” Counterpoint Research analyst Ivan Lam said.

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