Having ruled the smartphone market in China since 2012, Apple has lost its crown as the best-selling smartphone brand to an indigenous company of China — Oppo, which sold more units of its flagship R9 device in 2016.
Apple was able to sell 12 million units of iPhone 6s in 2016, garnering a market share of 2%, which was trumped by 4% share of Oppo R9, which sold 17 million units.
Overall, in China Oppo claims a market share of 9% of best-selling smartphones as compared to Apple’s 5%.
Although selling 12 million units of a device in a single year is no small deal, Apple no longer enjoys the lion’s share of the Chinese smartphone market with several new players having entered the competition.
“The final quarter of the year was marked with series of flagship upgrades from key brands such as Apple, Oppo, Huawei, Xiaomi which catalysed the smartphone demand in China, healthier than last year. Chinese e-commerce players such as Alibaba also helped drive the momentum with sales during the quarter which broke all records compared to last year,” James Yan, Research Director, Counterpoint Research.
According to a report by Counterpoint Research, Chinese brands like Oppo, Huawei, Meizu, Gionee and Vivo drove sales better than they had last year, which led them to claim a combined 58% of Chinese smartphone market share, while 2015’s star performers Xiaomi and Apple saw a decline in the demand for their devices.
“Xiaomi, the most talked about vendor last year, slipped to the fourth spot during the year as the demand for its smartphones declined 22% annually. The key reason for this decline was its rivals racing ahead with key features, innovation, bigger marketing budgets and wider online and offline distribution channel during the year,” said MengMeng Zhang, Research Analyst, Counterpoint Research.
Chinese smartphone brands Oppo and Vivo oversaw a gargantuan rise in their growth in 2016 as compared 2015 at 109% and 78%, respectively. Gionee and Huawei both posted 21% growth over the year and Meizu grew at 18%.
Apple still hasn’t released any official launch date of the upcoming iPhone 8 device, which is rumoured to boast features like wireless charging, facial recognition as well as a stainless steel body, and it remains to be seen whether their new device will be able to recapture the company’s crown in 2017 as well as give a boost to its growth charts in China.