Apple’s iPhone shipments plunge in China as Huawei tightens grip

Apple's iPhone Shipments Plunge in China as Huawei Tightens Grip

Apple's iPhone Shipments Plunge in China as Huawei Tightens Grip

Huawei ate up Apple's shipment losses in China, where its shipments increased 23.3 percent during the same period.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said when Apple announced its revenue miss in January that almost all of the revenue miss can be attributed to China. Apple recently stopped reporting iPhone unit sales in all regions, long considered to be a crucial bellwether for the health of the company's business.

The leading company is Huawei, which now commands no less than 29 percent of the phone market in China thanks to an increase of 23.3 percent in the last quarter.

Apple's iPhone shipments during the quarter ending December 2018 were down almost 20% in China, according to a new IDC estimate, providing additional context around why Apple missed its own revenue target by $7 billion during its most important quarter.

A separate report from another common industry source, Hong Kong-based Counterpoint, earlier this month confirmed a similar sharp fall in sales in India - another big emerging market where Apple is struggling. It now holds 11.5% market share, behind homegrown competitors Huawei, Oppo and Vivo.

Apple had warned of poor sales in the country weeks ago, an announcement which caused several electronics retailers including Alibaba-backed Suning and JD.com to slash the prices of iPhones sold in their stores. This could be attributed to China's economic slowdown, changes in consumption structure and also competition from local rivals such as Huawei and Xiaomi.

"When smartphones became a commodity for Chinese customers, multinationals need to adjust their overall sales and marketing strategies", Ms Peng said. That's despite grappling with an unusually turbulent few months during which its finance chief was arrested on allegations of bank fraud, and the USA marshalled its allies to try and block the company from selling next-generation networking gear.

Xiaomi's shipment slump was due to a number of factors including the adjustment of product line and inventory channels, as well as the revamp of internal organisation, said IDC.

"The domestic smartphone market environment in 2019 doesn't look very optimistic", IDC senior analyst Wang Xi said in the report.