Underperforming iPhone 15 increasingly dependent on discounts in world's largest market

Underperforming iPhone 15 increasingly dependent on discounts in world's largest market
Retailers in China have slashed the price of the iPhone 15 in hopes of boosting demand, reports Bloomberg

Since its release, the iPhone 15 family has been struggling in China. The deflating Chinese economy, the ban on the use of the iPhone in government agencies and state-backed companies, and the resurgence of Huawei are the primary reasons why Apple's latest phones aren't doing well in the world's largest smartphone market. 

Chinese retailer Tmall, owned by Alibaba Group, has discounted the iPhone 15 Pro Max by $180 -- $60 more than the price drop offered last year during the same period. Popular retailer JD.com is also running a similar deal.

Reuters reports that some retailers have also discounted the iPhone 14 Pro by 10 percent to attract demand.

Although Apple's official website is not offering any discount on the latest models at the moment in China, the company did cut prices by as much as $70 in January. It was the first time in years that the company offered a discount on its new models. 

Moreover, Apple is reportedly behind the latest discounts as well, with Counterpoint Research reporting that the company is "offering a short-term promotional price to third-party channels as an early promotion for International Women’s Day." 

Chinese consumers can expect more such discounts in the future, as Counterpoint Research has observed that iPhone sales in the country are "becoming increasingly dependent on promotions."

Pressure is also intensifying from other Chinese companies like Oppo and Vivo. In January, iPhone sales declined by 10 percent year on year, whereas Huawei's increased triple-digits during the same period, per IDC.

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A November Bloomberg report said that the iPhone 15 demand might stagnate in the US as the refresh cycle of smartphones has lengthened. Apple is still doing better than other vendors though and seven of the world's ten most popular phones in 2023 were iPhones.

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