As per new market intelligence data collected by Counterpoint Research, iPhone sales in China saw a year-over-year improvement of 6% around the Chinese New Year.
China’s smartphone market starting to recover after recent COVID lockdowns
According to Counterpoint’s data, overall smartphone sales saw an increase in China during the region’s holiday season
At the start of 2023, the sales quickly increased week over week to reach above 7 million before the week the Chinese New Year season started.
In four out of five weeks, the sales stayed above 6 million, a level seldom reached in 2022 when the pandemic haunted China’s cities from time to time. The average weekly sales during the period were 6.7 million units, much higher than the average of 5.5 million units in 2022. In January, the monthly sales were flat compared to the previous year’s same month, which recorded the highest sales in 2022, but sequentially grew more than 40%.
As for iPhone sales, Apple managed to retain its market leader position in the region and experienced 6% year-over-year growth.
Apple remained China’s biggest OEM in January in terms of sales share and its sales increased about 6% YoY, according to preliminary data.
Some claim that the pandemic’s effects on supply and demand have finally subsided and that the smartphone industry will experience a resurgence this year. Many experts, though, are dubious and think that this is merely a brief seasonal fluke.
Some attribute this more to the pent-up demand from December and the earlier-than-usual arrival of the Chinese New Year season rather than the substantial improvement on the demand side.
The fact that many distributors are being careful when making wholesale orders, having previously been forced to have very large levels of inventory simply sitting on their shelves, supports this theory.
Counterpoint, on the other hand, is somewhat upbeat and thinks there won’t be as many supply-side restrictions if China abandons its failed COVID Zero program. It claims to be maintaining its prediction that the smartphone market will expand annually in 2023, albeit it does anticipate this growth to be in the low single digits.
Earlier in February, Apple even reduced the price of its iPhone 14 Pro models in China by 800 yuan ($118) to offset declining demand. Apple slashed the price of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max after the Lunar New Year which is before schools reopen in China. Some retailers’ stock of the iPhone 14 Pro variants reportedly sold out in days.