Latest Canalys data highlights Apple’s struggle in China as shipments & market share fall


Earlier this week, data showed Apple narrowly edge out Samsung in market share during the fourth quarter of 2016. Now, new data from Canalys offers up a closer look at the smartphone market and China. The data shows Apple struggle to keep up with younger manufacturers such as Xiaomi…

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According to Canalys, smartphone shipments in China hit 476.5 million during 2016, an increase of 11.4 percent year-over-year. For comparison’s sake, smartphone shipments had grown 1.9 percent in 2015 compared to 2014.

More specifically, smartphone shipments in China hit 131.6 million during the fourth quarter of 2016. That’s the single largest quarter total in history for the Chinese market, accounting for one-third of worldwide shipments.

Breaking down the industry further by manufacturer, Huawei led the way with 76.2 million smartphone shipments during the year. Next up is Oppo, which increased its shipments from just over 30 million in 2015 to over 70 million during 2016. In third place comes Vivo, which shipped around 60 million smartphones during the year.

More notable, however, is Xiaomi, which shipped 51.4 million units to take the fourth spot in the market. Apple, on the other hand, shipped 43.8 million smartphones in 2016, a decline of 18.2 percent compared to the year before. Due to its drop, Apple fell to be the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in China, while Xiaomi leapfrogged to become third overall.

As expected, Apple’s drop in shipments also had a dire effect on the company’s market share in China. The company slipped from 15.2 percent of the market in 2015 to 10.7 percent in 2016.

Apple’s struggle in China hasn’t gone unnoticed. Despite the current conditions, however, Tim Cook has been optimistic about Apple’s future there. Cook and CFO Luca Maestri explained during Apple’s most recent earnings call that China represents a huge driver of growth. Specifically, Apple points to China as a driver of its ever-growing Services sector.

Looking ahead, Canalys analyst Jessie Ding believes that Apple will get back on track in China during 2017 thanks to the upcoming refresh of the iPhone.

China and Hong Kong are still the hardest-hit areas in Apple’s global top ten market. This directly led to a 7.0% decline in global shipments compared to 2015.”  Ding commented, “This year, the outlook remains bleak for Apple to get its China performance back to its heyday of 2015. As with consumers in other developed markets, China’s consumers are awaiting the 10th anniversary of the iPhone with very high expectations.”

Earlier this week, data showed that Apple narrowly surpassed Samsung during Q4 2016, but continued to lag over the entire year. Read that report here.


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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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