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February 11, 2019

New figures highlight the iPhone’s rough quarter in China

When Apple issued revised guidance for its quarterly earnings last month, the company singled out China as a primary driver for its disappointing result. Sure enough, iPhone revenue declined 15 percent year over year, and now IDC’s got some more insight into the role the Chinese market may have played in that decline.

New figures out this week show right around a 20 percent dip in shipments in China y-o-y for the quarter. That’s a pretty dramatic drop for a market that’s been a key factor in Apple’s growth plans, going forward. That marks a drop from 12.9 to 11.5 percent of the market. Last month, Tim Cook highlighted some of the reasons for the drop in the world’s largest smartphone market.

Among the reasons cited are international trade tensions and an overall slowing Chinese economy. Of course, Apple’s not alone in seeing a decline. Smartphone shipments are down almost across the board, owing to slower upgrade cycles. Most phones are already pretty good, so people are holding onto them for longer. It’s also worth noting that this year’s XS didn’t mark as dramatic an upgrade as its predecessor. 

Tellingly, however, a number of native smartphone makers are up in the country, including, notably, Huawei, which saw a 23.3 percent uptick for the quarter, suggesting that the ascendant company ate into Apple’s market share.


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