Apple's iPhone 14 bucks the Chinese smartphone trend

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The global smartphone market is in a bit of a flux right now and China is one country where smartphone sales in general are in the middle of a huge downturn. That is, assuming you aren't Apple.

New numbers show that while China's smartphone sales fell by 5% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023, Apple actually produced its best Q1 share and sales in years.

It's thought that strong iPhone 14 sales, boosted by price cuts, are to thank for Apple's impressive sales numbers in the country.

Apple's up when everyone else is down

Numbers shared by Counterpoint Research have China's smartphone sales reaching their lowest Q1 results since 2014, although that was actually better than the fall experienced during previous quarters. YoY figures for some preceding quarters saw double-digit negative growth. Counterpoint Research believes that the Chinese new year and price reductions helped out.

It's price reductions that are also thought to have helped Apple shift its best iPhones in large enough numbers to manage such impressive results.

"In Q1 2023, Apple recorded the biggest share in the China smartphone market, increasing sales by 6% YoY in a declining market," the report says. "Apple’s market share in Q1 came to 19.9%, its highest Q1 share since 2014, while its sales were also the highest Q1 sales since 2015."

The report goes on to note that some "retail channels cut prices of the iPhone 14 series by RMB 600-RMB 800 and some e-commerce websites offered additional RMB 800 subsidies." Those discounts are said to have helped retailers move inventory more quickly.

Without Apple, all other companies saw their sales drop 8% YoY. Companies like Oppo, Vivo, Honor, and Xiaomi were all impacted although Huawei performed well thanks to the release of the midrange Nova 10 series and high-end Mate 50 phones.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.