Counterpoint: Apple iPhone sets record share in China

From William Gallgher's "Apple had its best sales ever in October in the Chinese market" posted Thursday by AppleInsider:

New research claims that one in four smartphones sold in China during October 2022 was an iPhone, with the iPhone 14 Pro Max being the country's best-selling device.

It was only in 2019 that Tim Cook warned of low iPhone sales in China. Since then, however, the iPhone has continually risen, Apple has at times been China's largest smartphone brand, and over half of all phones in the 2022 6:18 festival were iPhones.

Now Counterpoint Research estimates that Apple has reached its highest ever monthly market share in China. The month is October 2022, the latest for which complete figures are available, and that's significant because it's also the first month that the iPhone 14 range was on sale.

Counterpoint says that Apple has taken Huawei's share of the premium market, and also that its month on month sales have increased while all others have fallen.

Cue the full chart (click to enlarge):

My take: Since October, we've had nearly nonstop iPhone-in-China doomsaying.


  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    Past does not always equate to prologue.

    Starting FY2016 iPhone sales declined through FY2019, and has risen each of the following years (even though iPhone pricing has increased substantially).

    Could this be the beginning of Android fatigue?

    December 1, 2022
  2. Jeff Galanti said:
    Seems like the easy solution to get Foxconn employees back on the line is to offer them an iPhone 14 Pro as a signing bonus.

    December 1, 2022
  3. Fred Stein said:

    We can ignore all the Covid doomsday stories, which exaggerate a short term issue.

    Sure 50% reduction is capacity sounds dire, until we do the math. First, Apple got a one week head start selling a lot of iPhones sold in Oct., before the Covid impact. The impacted facility is only 50% of all iPhones for a month or two.

    December 1, 2022
  4. Jonny T said:
    The products are like the stock price, their quality will eventually become apparent to everybody.

    December 1, 2022
  5. Neal Guttenberg said:
    Is it possible that part of the iPhone’s appeal in China is its new satellite capabilities? If and when this gets greater bandwidth, could it be a way around some of the censorship issues?

    December 1, 2022
    • Jeff Galanti said:
      @ Neal.

      I suspect if that capability were to show up that either it would be disabled with software in the PRC or the phones would be banned. The CCP didn’t invest all of that money in the Great Firewall to have citizens walk around it.

      December 1, 2022
      • Neal Guttenberg said:

        I agree with your assessment. But I am wondering if some tech savvy person may come up with some way to beat whatever firewall would be in place. And then this could be used in remote areas where the Party’s prying eyes may not have any ability to monitor. But more than likely, I think you are correct. The phone is probably popular because of its features and the status it affords the owner.

        December 1, 2022
  6. Bart Yee said:
    Since the 2019 trade war induced China dip, Apple has shown higher lows and higher highs of market share each YOY quarter. I’ll suggest it’s because of, until recently, a decent middle class growth, expanding install base of aging iPhone 6S to XS models, aspirational switching from Android units, and, again till recently, widespread availability of iPhones.

    With lockdowns and economic turmoil in China during November, I expect a contracture of the overall China smartphone market again, with Android taking a bigger hit. Depending on iPhone 14 Pro models’ availability, I think Apple could drop a bit to maybe 23-24% market share until inventory rebuilds and orders get filled. Assuming December Pro production ramps up quickly and Covid remains at bay, look for Apple to rise to maybe 27-29% of the December China marketshare. If Production remains elevated, look for continued 27%+ share into Q2 and the Lunar New Year.

    December 1, 2022
  7. Bart Yee said:
    Other comments from the Counterpoint article:

    One in every four devices sold in China during October 2022 was an iPhone.

    While the sales for other key OEMs declined in October, Apple grew 21% MoM. In YoY terms, China’s sales declined 15%, while Apple’s sales declined just 4%.

    Apple has emerged as a clear winner of Huawei’s share in the premium market

    *The iPhone 14 Pro Max was the best-selling device in China in October, followed by the iPhone 14 Pro.*

    Apple reached its highest ever monthly market share (25%) in China in October 2022, while becoming the #1 OEM in the country for the second consecutive month, according to Counterpoint Research’s Monthly Market Pulse Service.

    Apple has almost become an undisputed leader in China’s premium segment. The iPhone 14 series has started off well with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max performing better than the previous generation. The iPhone 13 also continues to do well, as the iPhone 14 offers little differentiation from the iPhone 13.

    Comparing the first five weeks of the iPhone 14 Pro series sales in China with that of the iPhone 13 Pro series sales for the same period, the Pro series share in the iPhone 14 series sales was 70%, compared to 47% in the iPhone 13 series.

    …there is a clear demand shift towards the Pro line-up in the 14 series. The wait times also suggest the same trend. Delivery times for the Pro series have been 3-4 weeks across key regions with the supply catching up with the demand. Overall, the Pro series will help Apple reach record average selling prices (ASPs) in 2022.”

    Gosh, if production had not been affected…China could have ended up with high if not record revenue.

    December 2, 2022

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