Shipments of iPhone in China increased 32 percent in the first quarter of this year. This was during a period when the overall Chinese handset market declined.
Many Chinese see Apple devices as status symbols and pick them over local brands that cost significantly less.
According to analysis company Counterpoint Research, Apple’s share of the Chinese smartphone market rose to 14.3 percent in the first three months of this year. That’s up significantly from the 10.0 percent share the company held in the same quarter of 2017.
There’s been a lot of bad news for Apple recently, with parts suppliers indicating that iPhone sales are down. Perhaps investors will be cheered by the news that the company is growing strongly in the world’s largest smartphone market.
Upgrades driving up iPhone in China
People upgrading older iPhones are expected to drive sales for the rest of the 2018. “Apple still holds a large user base in China who haven’t upgraded in the past two years. Apple is now back to YoY growth in the first quarter since Q1 2015, which is an indication that its older generation iPhone user base is now upgrading. This can set the set the tone for the vendor’s full year outlook,” said Counterpoint’s Associate Director Tarun Pathak.
And the trend will continue when new iPhone models are introduced this fall. “As Apple enters its seasonal cycle, promotions in the coming quarters will further drive upgrades,” predicted Pathak.
China as a whole
The entire Chinese smartphone market declined by 8 percent in the first quarter. “The slowdown can be attributed to lengthening smartphone replacement cycle for the Chinese consumers,” said James Yan, Research Director at Counterpoint.
Like the rest of the world, Chinese smartphone tastes are moving toward bezel-less designs. It seems the iPhone X debuted just in time. And Apple is reportedly going all-in for iPhones without bezels in 2018.