iPhone sales in China have plummeted a staggering 30% in the first week of this year, according to analysis from New York-based investment banking firm Jefferies Group. This comes on top of Apple’s 3% year-over-year decline in China for all of 2023, compared to relatively flat growth for its Chinese competitors.
In January last year, Apple’s market share swelled to 23%, marking the tech powerhouse’s ascension to the top spot in China’s smartphone market after a six-year wait. But Apple was knocked off its throne just months later when domestic rival Huawei overtook it in October. The two companies are now head-to-head, with Huawei at 23.11% and Apple at 22.21% market share respectively.
“iPhone’s lower market share YoY in China is a negative surprise, and we believe the cannibalization is coming from not just Huawei, but also Xiaomi and others,” a Jefferies analyst told CNBC.
This is despite Apple’s best efforts to defend its market share by aggressively slashing prices. iPhone 14 models received heavy discounts in China after the launch of iPhone 15 in September and last week discounts on various models reportedly increased even further.
But this bid to stay competitive looks unlikely to bear much fruit, as analysts predict Apple’s downturn will continue throughout 2024. Apple’s shipment volume is expected to continue declining by double digits, while Huawei is expected to snatch an even bigger market share.