Smartphone sales in China declined to their lowest point since 2013 in Q1 2019, according to research firm Canalys.
While 88 million units were shipped, this represents a 3% year-on-year fall. Nonetheless, vendors are aiming to push against the decline after weaker sales throughout 2018, with Canalys analyst Mo Jia noting: “Major vendors are gearing up to full speed, releasing new products and spending on marketing, to maintain share in the face of competition from Huawei.”
Indeed, the manufacturing giant fared better than the rest of its fellow top five vendors, with its shipments increasing by 41% for a total of 29.9 million devices. It closed the quarter with 34% of the market, boosting its share by more than 10% - a feat which Canalys noted was achieved by investing heavily in retail outlets, spending more than smaller vendors were able to.
Jia noted: “These investments have helped it gain customers from other vendors, such as Oppo and Vivo, which used to enjoy absolute dominance in offline channels over the last few years.” Despite slight declines in their sales, these two vendors held onto their respective second and third positions in the market.
Chinese vendor Xiaomi saw its market share drop to 11.9% from 13.3% in the same quarter last year, representing a 13% decline in shipments. Apple meanwhile saw sales fall by 30% to 6.5 million, its biggest drop in two years.
On Apple’s performance, Jia said: “Apple faces a challenge in China to localise its software and services offerings as quickly as in western markets. Its hardware is therefore more exposed to competition in China than elsewhere.”