Smartphone shipments in China fell 11 percent year-on-year in the third quarter as the country’s slowing economy took a toll on consumer demand, research firm Canalys reported on Thursday. Brands shipped a total of 70 million smartphones to sellers in the period, down from 78.9 million in same period last year.

While Apple was the only brand to buck the trend, with shipments jumping 36 percent to 11.3 million, analysts say that the surge was due to demand for the iPhone 14 Pro model, and demand for the basic iPhone 14 model has been weak.

The dip continues an ongoing trend for the sector, which in recent years has faced challenges ranging from the global chip shortage, the economic impact of China’s zero-COVID policy, and lengthening upgrade cycles from consumers.

“Vendors have been suffering from rapidly declining demand and high inventory over past quarters which has severely damaged confidence in the overall supply chain,” Canalys analyst Toby Zhu wrote in the report.

Vivo, owned by the Shenzhen-based conglomerate BBK, was the top-ranked brand in the quarter, shipping 14.1 million devices and taking a market share of 20 percent. The top three brands — Vivo, Oppo, and Honor — saw shipments fall 23 percent, 27 percent, and 16 percent respectively.

Apple currently ranks as the fourth top-selling brand in China, with a market share of 13 percent.

The company “is not currently isolated from weak mainland China consumer demand,” wrote Canalys analyst Amber Liu, adding that the company has been launching aggressive promotions on previous-generation devices in order to fend off competition from rivals.

Xiaomi, which ranked as the fifth top-selling brand, saw shipments fall 17 percent.
© Thomson Reuters 2022

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