iPhone sales slump in China — February shipments are down one-third from a year ago according to official state data

Apple Beijing
(Image credit: Apple)

Yet another report says that Apple faces a serious iPhone slump in China after official state data revealed its shipments had fallen by one-third in February compared to a year ago. 

A Counterpoint report earlier in March claimed Apple’s iPhone sales had fallen 24% in the first six weeks of the year compared to the same period last year, and Tim Cook recently visited the country to help buoy sales. Now official state data reiterates Apple’s struggles in the region. 

SCMP reports that “Apple’s iPhone shipments in China fell by about one-third in February from a year ago, according to official state data released Tuesday,” a sign that “the US tech giant is losing ground to Chinese smartphone brands in the world’s second-largest economy.” 

Apple’s China woes 

SCMP says Apple continues to face “regulatory and competitive headwinds,” citing anecdotal reports of an iPhone ban among Chinese government agencies and other offices. According to the report, foreign brands shipped 2.4 million smartphones in February, 16.9% of the total market. The report continues, “Given that Apple is the most significant foreign player in the country, it translates into a drop of about one-third from the prior month.” 

The report cites further figures from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a state-backed think tank, that show Apple shipped 5.5 million units in January, down nearly 40% year on year. 

Apple recently announced its WWDC 2024 conference will be held June 10-14. Apple is expected to unveil iOS 18 with significant AI upgrades to boost its best iPhones ahead of the iPhone 16 reveal in September, a combination it will be hoping can stimulate iPhone sales in China. 

The NYT reported this week that in China “ evidence is mounting that… the iPhone no longer holds the appeal it used to.” One expert said the biggest reason for the slump was tensions between the U.S. and China, with debates raging online as to whether using an iPhone “is disrespectful to Chinese tech companies or akin to handing personal data over to the U.S. government.” According to Wedbush Securities’ Dan Ives, 125 million out of the 215 million iPhone users in China have not upgraded their devices in the last three years. 

Not banking solely on the iPhone, Tim Cook confirmed to state media this week that Apple Vision Pro would launch in the country this year.

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • Just_Me_D
    Hmmm, I can think of two reasons:
    1. Everyone who wants an iPhone and can afford one already has it.
    2. We’re allegedly 6 months away from the introduction of the next iPhone models so why buy one now?
  • FFR
    Yup Apple is doomed
  • Wotchered
    I don't care,at all.