Apple smartphone sales have dropped by 19.9 percent in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024 in China, a new report showed on Tuesday.

According to Counterpoint Research, Apple’s sales dropped due to Huawei’s comeback in the premium segment.

“Apple’s sales were subdued during the quarter as Huawei’s comeback has directly impacted Apple in the premium segment. Besides, the replacement demand for Apple has been slightly subdued compared to previous years,” said Senior Research Analyst Ivan Lam.

As per Senior Analyst Mengmeng Zhang, this year’s first quarter was the most competitive ever, with only three per cent points separating the top six players in terms of market share.

“Chinese OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), with their ample cost-effective offerings, capitalise on the surge in sales in the low-end segment as migrant workers purchase more affordable, budget smartphones when returning home for the holidays,” she said.

Moreover, the researchers mentioned the possibility of an iPhone recovery, saying that they are seeing slow but steady improvement from week to week, so the momentum could be shifting.

“For the second quarter (Q2), the possibility of new colour options combined with aggressive sales initiatives could bring the brand back into positive territory; and of course, we are waiting to see what its AI features will offer come to WWDC in June,” Lam said.

The researchers also estimated low single-digit (year-over-year) growth for China’s smartphone market in 2024.

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