Apple captures #1 spot in Chinese smartphone market

26 January 2024
Source: IDC

Despite the overall Chinese smartphone market shipments declining by 5.0% in 2023, Apple became the leading smartphone supplier in China for the first time, according to new research from IDC.

Apple managed a record high market share of 17.3% during the year even after 2023 was the lowest volume of smartphone shipments in the region in a decade. This low volume was due to economic conditions and weak consumer sentiment.

IDC said that one of the key drivers to Apple’s success was the resiliency from the high-end consumers in the tier 1-3 cities. This fueled the demand for Apple’s flagship iPhones while low- to mid-range devices struggled due to overall lack of growth in the Chinese market.

"Apple's climb to the top spot in 2023, especially in light of renewed competition from Huawei and the soft spending sentiment, marks a tremendous success for Apple," said Arthur Guo, senior research analyst in Client System Research for IDC China. "Apple achieved this thanks to timely price promotions in its third-party channels, which stimulated demand. Meanwhile, Honor maintained its number 2 position thanks to improvement in its channel partnerships and a well-rounded product strategy, capturing the high end with its successful foldable lineup and the low-to-mid range with several popular models."

While Apple saw growth in 2023, Honor, which dropped about 10% year-over-year, remained in second place. Oppo was in third place, also losing about 10% year-over-year, and Vivo, which took the top spot in 2022, dropped 15% to end up in fourth place overall in the Chinese market.

"One key highlight we shouldn't miss in 4Q23 was the return of Huawei to the Top 5 ranking after more than two years," said Will Wong, senior research manager for Client Devices at IDC Asia/Pacific. "This will only intensify the competition as no vendors will want to lose a top 5 position in the world's largest smartphone market."

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