Apple’s Chinese market share dropped by 23.3 per cent year-on-year to 9.6 per cent as Chinese smartphone market increased nine percent in 2016.
This marks Apple’s first time loss in market share since iPhone entered Chinese market in 2009, according to data released by IDC research on Monday.
Apple ranked fourth in Chinese sales, while the top three vendors were OPPO, Huawei and Vivo, in that order, for the full year.
The market share for the top five vendors rose from 46 per cent in 2015 to 57 per cent in 2016.
OPPO sold 78.4 million units in the China market in 2016, topping Huawei’s 76.6 million, Vivo’s 69.2 million and Apple’s 44.9 million.
This January, the Cupertino-based company announced all-time record quarterly revenue of 78.4 billion dollars for Q1 2017 which ended December 2016.
iPhone sales declined 12 per cent year-on-year during the period in China, in stark contrast to record sales numbers elsewhere in the world.
While Europe and the Asia-Pacific region witnessed discernible growth and the Americas and Japan saw significant growth, Greater China region faced contraction.
“Greater China net sales decreased during the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same quarter in 2016 due primarily to lower net sales of iPhone and the effect of weakness in foreign currencies relative to the US dollar,” the company said in its quarterly report.
The iPhone is Apple’s biggest moneymaker in China, even so, Chinese consumers are holding on to their existing iPhones for longer periods instead of upgrading to a newer model every year or two.
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage during a product launch event on October 27, 2016 in Cupertino, California. /CFP Photo
“Most Apple users are expected to be holding out for the new iPhone that will be launched this year, and that will help the brand to see a growth in 2017,” IDC said. “Apple’s 10-year anniversary iPhone will also likely attract some of the high-end Android users in China to convert to an iPhone.”
It has raised investors’ concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone, a nagging worry that has been aggravated by the sales slump in 2016.
Apple’s results this year will depend on the success of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which were introduced in September 2016. ##