The iPhone 11 series returned Apple to growth in China last quarter

The iPhone 11 series returned Apple to growth in China last quarter
Apple has been having a tough time in China since late last year but one new report suggests the recently released iPhone 11 series may have finally stopped the brand’s long period of negative growth.

The iPhone 11's early release saved Apple in China last quarter

According to the data gathered by IDC’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone brands shipped a combined total of 98.9 million smartphones across the third quarter of 2019, down 3.6% from the 102.6 million units that were sold twelve months earlier. 

Apple, as expected, continued to trail behind the competition in fifth place. But to much surprise, the Silicon Valley-based company was one of only two companies to report annual growth and managed to close the gap a little between itself and closest rival Xiaomi.

IDC’s data indicates the company shipped around 8.1 million iPhone units between early July and late September. This figure represents year-on-year growth of 5.6% – Apple sold 7.6 million units a year ago – and can be attributed to the company’s new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro devices which pair “competitive pricing” with “notable improvements in camera and battery life.”

As the market research firm notes, though, Apple’s third quarter results were significantly boosted by the decision to launch the budget flagship in September rather than October like last year’s iPhone XR. Therefore, the true impact of the iPhone 11 series will likely be felt this quarter. Apple itself hasn’t commented on the lineup’s performance in China but it recently revealed that the situation is improving. Therefore, a second consecutive quarter of growth could be possible.

Huawei's performance was simply outstanding in Q3 2019

On the opposite end of the charts was Huawei, which led the entire market with an incredible 41.5 million shipments. The brand sold just 25.2 million devices a year earlier, meaning it experienced explosive growth of 64.6% during the third quarter of 2019. Additionally, the results boosted the company’s market share from 24.6% to 42%. 

The majority of Huawei’s shipments came from cheaper Nova, Enjoy, and Honor-branded smartphones but it turns out Mate and P-series phones were also popular among Chinese consumers.

IDC didn’t provide any performance forecasts for the fourth quarter of 2019 but Huawei is largely expected to receive a strong boost thanks to the nearing holiday shopping season. If large enough, the company’s market share could cross the 50% mark in China for the first time ever.

Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi all felt the heat from Huawei

Filling in the gaps between Huawei and Apple were Vivo, Oppo, and Xiaomi respectively. These brands all experienced noticeably sales drops throughout the quarter and continued to face challenges in light of Huawei’s outstanding performance.

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Second-place Vivo continued to focus heavily on smartphones priced between $150 and $400 although it saw success with its first competitively priced 5G device. The brand held a market share of 18.3% last quarter thanks to shipments of 18.1 million units, down 18.9% from the 22.3 million smartphones it sold in Q3 2018.

Following in third place was Oppo, which spent most of the quarter establishing its new Reno smartphone series and shipping low-end A-branded phones. The company’s sales totaled 16.4 million units, a drop of 21.7% from 21 million a year earlier.

Sitting just ahead of Apple was Xiaomi. Chinese consumers purchased 9.7 million phones from the company during the July-September quarter which, while impressive, is down a massive 30.5% year-on-year from 14 million units.

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