iPhone shipments grew a “remarkable” 36% in China in Q3

A new market intelligence report says that iPhone shipments grew 36% year-on-year in China in Q3, while all other major brands saw theirs fall between 16% and 27%.

The data says that this saw Apple’s smartphone market share in the country grew from 11% to 16%, but the news for the iPhone maker wasn’t all good…

iPhone shipments in China

Canalys said that the overall smartphone market in China fell by 11% year-on-year.

The latest smartphone estimates from Canalys show that Mainland China’s Q3 2022 smartphone market improved marginally over Q2 with 70.0 million units shipped. However, the market is still struggling and declined 11% year-on-year as low shipment levels continued.

The headline news for Apple was excellent, boosting shipments by more than a third, and overtaking Xiaomi to take the No. 4 slot.

“Apple saw remarkable growth in Mainland China in Q3,” said Canalys Analyst Amber Liu. “Its annual launch is highly anticipated by consumers and channels and strong demand for the iPhone 14 Pro series contributed to Apple’s overall performance.”

As is the case worldwide, there was lower-than-expected demand for the two base models, but that’s also good news for Apple, increasing its average selling price (ASP) for sales of the new lineup.

But not all the news was good

The report goes on to say that Apple’s success depended to a greater degree than usual on sales of previous-generation iPhones. Sales of these cheaper devices were also boosted by “aggressive” discounts, which is relatively new behavior for the Cupertino company.

Under an onslaught of Android vendor competition, Apple had to concede to adopt aggressive promotions of its entry-level editions and previous generation devices, especially in the RMB5000-6000 (US$700-800) price band.

Historically, Apple has always sold iPhones from its physical and online stores at the official price. It has offered additional discounts to wholesalers to enable them to offer discounted phones, but the company has never directly offered discounts to consumers.

That changed back in July, when Apple began offering discounts on the official online Apple Store.

Many products on Apple’s official website in China have started to be discounted. This seems to be the first time that Apple is offering a direct discount on the official website. The campaign is limited to 4 days, and you can get up to 600 RMB (about $89) off.

Includes iPhone 13 series, iPhone SE (3rd generation), iPhone 12/12 mini, Apple Watch SE, AirPods Pro, AirPods (3rd generation).

Holiday season likely to be dominated by Apple

Looking ahead to the holiday season, Canalys says that things won’t improve much for most brands, while Apple will enjoy mass-market sales of the iPhone 14 lineup.

While demand is strong, Apple is still at risk from supply constraints. In particular, China’s zero-COVID-19 policy, which has seen entire cities put into lockdown after a handful of positive tests. Chief Apple assembler Foxconn yesterday confirmed an outbreak within its main plant in “iPhone City,” but said that the impact on iPhone production was “controllable.”

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Naveen Kumar

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