Apple has plummeted from first to fifth place in the Chinese smartphone market, analysts warn

Apple's popularity in China is now so bad that it's in fifth place in the smartphone market, a fall from grace after having been in the top spot.

1 minute & 37 seconds read time

Following months of reports that suggested Apple has had a significant fall from grace in China, new smartphone sales figures suggest that there is no sign of a resurgence. Not yet, at least. In fact, things have gotten so bad that Apple now finds itself in fifth place in the Chinese smartphone market.

That will be particularly galling for Apple considering the company was once the number one smartphone company in China, and it's a problem that it will want to arrest as soon as possible.

Apple has plummeted from first to fifth place in the Chinese smartphone market, analysts warn 01

The news comes via analytics company Canalys whose latest report covers the first quarter of 2024. The figures have Apple sitting in fifth spot behind other companies that are competing for sales in China, a vitally important part of the world for Apple.

Apple's once-owned number-one spot has been taken by Huawei which itself was returning to the summit for the first time in 13 quarters with a notable market share of 17%. It shipped almost 12 million phones to get there, while Oppo now sits in second space thanks to sales of almost 11 million devices.

That's where the success stories ended, though. Apple Honor, and Vivo all found their sales slowed in the first quarter. Honor sold 10.6 million units to gain a 16% share while Vivo moved 10.3 million units for its 15% smart share. Apple sank to the bottom of the rankings with just 10 million iPhones sold for a 15% share.

This comes as sales of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro were starting to dry up following their release to the world in September of last year. Those sales are now unlikely to increase again, with Apple expected to announce the iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max this coming September. Apple will no doubt hope that those phones can kickstart sales once more, and they very likely will. But Apple only releases new iPhones once per year and the boost from a September launch cannot possibly be expected to run throughout the calendar year.

Apple has historically chosen to juice sales by releasing a new color midway through the iPhone's lifecycle, but that now seems unlikely to happen for the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro. That means that the colors that are available today are likely to remain that way all the way through to the release of the next generation of iPhones. Whether or not those models can drive sales in China remains to be seen.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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