Apple became the top smartphone brand in China for the first time in six years in the fourth quarter of 2021, Counterpoint Research reports.
While smartphone sales in China declined nine percent year on year for the third consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2021, and smartphone sales declined two percent in 2021 for the fourth consecutive year, Apple finally surpassed Vivo to become the country’s top smartphone brand. In total, Apple captured 23 percent of the Chinese smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2021, its highest ever market share in the country.
The Chinese homegrown brands Vivo, Oppo, Honor, and Xiaomi took second, third, fourth, and fifth place, respectively. Counterpoint Research analyst Mengmeng Zhang commented:
Apple’s stellar performance was driven by a mix of its pricing strategy and gain from Huawei’s premium base. Apple rose to first place in China right after the iPhone 13 was released (week 39) in September. Afterwards, it remained in the leading position for most of the fourth quarter. The new iPhone 13 has led the success due to a relatively lower starting price at its release in China, as well as the new camera and 5G features. Furthermore, Huawei, Apple’s main competitor in the premium market, faced declining sales due to the ongoing U.S. sanctions.
The fourth quarter of 2021 was the first time Apple has been the top smartphone brand in China since the fourth quarter of 2015, when the iPhone 6’s upgrade supercycle was at its height. Counterpoint says that Apple’s success at the premium end of the market will encourage Chinese brands to strengthen their offerings in this segment.Tags: China, Counterpoint
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