The world’s largest smartphone market hasn’t been so fond of iPhones lately. It was a close fight, but Apple has finally been overtaken by China’s very own brands.
For the first time since 2012, iPhones are no longer the most sold handsets in China for a single year. In 2016, Apple managed to sell a total of 12 million iPhone 6s units, which accounted for two percent of all phones sold in the country, while OPPO earned four percent of the market with 17 million sales of its R9 flagship smartphone.
We saw it coming: Last October, we reported about OPPO and Vivo’s surge in China’s rankings. It was only a matter of time for them to catch up to Apple and take over the charts.
This would explain why the Cupertino company is so hellbent on officially setting foot in India. Although Apple has been making good sales in the nation of 1.2 billion people, they’ll need to begin locally producing components in order to comply with the government’s requirements for setting up its own retail stores in the country.
Apple’s primary weakness in such markets is the lack of diversity in its portfolio. By having only premium handsets to its name, the company has no way of competing against the entry-level and midrange offerings of OPPO and Vivo, whose smartphones have been improving in quality, as well. Even the strong promotion of the iPhone 7 wasn’t enough to lure in the average Chinese consumer.
Huawei has also been rising up at the expense of Apple. Year-on-year shipments of the former have been up by 21 percent, while the latter has experienced a 21 percent decline during the same period.
Apple will really have to step up its game with the next iPhone to keep up this year. Samsung, who’s well aware of the booming midrange segment, has already launched its Galaxy A series, which sits below the flagship Galaxy S line. Google, on the other hand, might be releasing a lower-priced Pixel later this year.
Image credit: Mike Deerkoski