The iPhone is knocked out of first place in the world's largest smartphone market

The iPhone is knocked out of first place in the world's largest smartphone market
Canalys released its second-quarter smartphone shipments report for mainland China. As expected, the numbers indicate that the market is improving with deliveries declining 5% year-over-year to 64.3 million units during the April through June period. During the quarter Apple and Vivo exchanged positions from the first quarter with Vivo taking the top spot and Apple dropping to third place.

Vivo benefited from the release of its Vivo X Flip clamshell and Vivo X Fold 2 book-style foldables early in the quarter. For the three months, it shipped 11.4 million units in mainland China which tied it with Oppo. Both brands, under the umbrella of BBK Electronics, had 18% of the market during the quarter. For Vivo, the company shipped 14% fewer phones during Q2 while Oppo's shipments dropped only 4% year-over-year.

Apple dropped from the top spot to the third position in Q2 even though shipments rose 5% to 10.4 million units. With a 16% slice of the smartphone pie in mainland China, Apple remains right on the heels of Vivo and Oppo. It also was the only company among the top five to show an annual gain in shipments for the quarter.

Honor is next as the former Huawei sub-unit had the biggest annual decline in shipments at 21%. With deliveries of 10.3 million smartphones, Honor was just behind Apple although it matched the latter's 16% market share. In the fifth position was Xiaomi following a 19% year-over-year decline in Q2 shipments in the mainland. The total number of units it delivered, 8.6 million, left it with a 13% share of the market.

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Canalys Analyst Amber Liu points out that Chinese consumers are willing to pay up for higher-quality phones. She writes, "Chinese consumers are increasingly willing to pay for high-quality products. The average selling price of smartphones exceeded US$450 last year and is expected to keep rising in the coming quarters. Apple and Huawei have achieved impressive year-on-year growth with their flagship devices, indicating solid and sustained high-end demand."

She added, "Vendors benefiting from consumer product upgrades are motivated to invest in more product innovations to stay ahead of the technology curve. The recently launched foldable phones, such as the HONOR Magic V2, vivo X Fold2, and Huawei Mate X3, have ignited significant interest from channels and consumers around new form factors and use cases."

Canalys Analyst Toby Zhu expects the market to recover in the second half of the year partly due to increased subsidies on entry-level phones. He says that vendors should be prepared to take advantage of a second-half rebound by getting ready to release important products.

China remains the largest smartphone market in the world followed by India, and the United States.

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