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China’s smartphone market saw its biggest drop in demand since 2013

Smartphone shipments in China saw their biggest decline ever this first quarter, as shipments dropped to 91 million units, according to a report from market analyst group Canalys. Every year since 2013, Chinese smartphone shipments have been able to reach or exceed 100 million units quarterly. This is the first quarter since Q4 of 2013 that numbers have dipped below that benchmark.

Canalys experts suggest that the Chinese market is simply feeling worn out by the endless marketing campaigns of each smartphone company. “The level of competition has forced every vendor to imitate the others’ product portfolios and go-to-market strategies,” said research analyst Mo Jia. Basically, smartphone companies need to focus on developing varied models and features rather than saturating the market with iterative devices and multiple ad campaigns.

Major smartphone vendors like Samsung, Meizu, Oppo, and Vivo were hard hit by the sharp decline. Meizu’s and Samsung’s shipment numbers shrank to less than half of their numbers year over year. Apple didn’t fare much better, coming in fifth place for number of shipments. We’ve reached out to Canalys for the exact numbers. Vivo’s shipments fell to 15 million while Oppo’s shipments fell to 18 million, both accounting for an approximately 10 percent drop year over year for each respective company.

But in light of the huge downturn in the market, there were a few winners that continued to grow their market share. Xiaomi grew its number of phones shipped out to 12 million units, marking a 37 percent jump from the previous year. Granted, Q1 of 2017 was a weak quarter for Xiaomi due to supply issues, so it’s not an equal standard for comparison. But Xiaomi has been cruising through the Chinese smartphone market with more budget offerings than its competitors, and it’s been boosted by the popularity of the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

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