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iPhone loses nearly 9 pct market share in China

Martin Guo

Editor-in-Chief, Kantar China Insights

Mobile 14.04.2017 / 10:20

Product Red iPhone 7 2 col

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remain top selling devices, but Chinese brands successfully lift their shares through Chinese New Year promotions.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s latest data showed that during the three months ending February 2017, iOS accounted for 13.2% of smartphone sales in urban China, a decline of 8.9 percentage points from 22.1% a year earlier.

“This marks iOS’ lowest share since the three-month period ending July 2014,” reported Tamsin Timpson, Strategic Insight Director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. “That said, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remained the top selling devices in the region, together the duo accounting for 8% of smartphone sales. By comparison, iPhone 6s and 6s Plus accounted for 14% of smartphone sales in the three months ending February 2016.”

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech carries out monthly panel surveys among Chinese urban mobile phone users to monitor the market share changes of various brands. In China, the panel size is 22,000. Panellists were recruited from tier-1 to 5 cities and each year more than 260,000 surveys were conducted. The nature of the research methodology means it can cover the influence of smartphones sold in other countries ended up in China and avoid the confusion caused by unsold phones stocked at warehouses of distributors.

“Android has achieved continuous growth in China since last February, with its strongest year-on-year gains coming in this reporting circle, when its share rose 9.3 percentage points,” said Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “As we’ve seen in the past, this was due to a strong sales period around Chinese New Year, which is always a busy promotional season, particularly for local brands. Huawei, Oppo, Meizu, Vivo, and 360 all posted year-on-year growth.”

Android share also rose slightly in EU5 from 74.3% to 75.2% of smartphone sales in that region.

Europe’s big five markets include Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

“While Android continued to make gains in EU5, growth slowed to just 0.9 percentage points between February 2016 and February 2017, while iOS gained 2.7 percentage points to capture 21.8% of smartphone sales,” said Dominic Sunnebo, Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. “Growth for Android was strongest in Spain, where Android accounted for 92.2% of smartphones sold, a 2.2 percentage point increase from February 2016. Samsung and Huawei, the top Android vendors in Spain, experienced modest year-on-year declines, while local brand BQ and China’s Xiaomi each grew 6 percentage points over the past year. Android’s share fell modestly in Great Britain, shrinking by half percentage point to 55% of smartphone sales.”

In the United States, Android dropped to 55.9% of smartphone sales in the three months ending February 2017, marking another period of year-on-year decline that began in the second quarter of 2016. iOS accounted for 42% of smartphones sold in the US, up 3.7 percentage points from 38.3% the previous year. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus remained the top-selling smartphones in the US where they have been in the lead since the three months ending November 2016. Although Google Pixel was not expected to be a game changer in its first iteration, there were hopes that it might soften the drop in Android sales that typically occurs around an iPhone launch.

Among US consumers intending to purchase over the next six months, 23% indicate that they will consider a Google Pixel. But since its release, Pixel has not been able to surpass 2% of smartphone sales, in part because supply constraints have limited its availability.

“The February period is always a challenging time to report on consumer behaviour and plans, since many people put purchases on hold following the holidays, waiting for the latest phone announcements from Mobile World Congress,” Guenveur said. “The much-anticipated March 29 announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S8, combined with the somewhat unexpected launch of the (PRODUCT) RED iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and the capacity upgrade to iPhone SE a week before that, may mean that the remainder of Q1 and Q2 could yield some interesting, even unpredictable, shifts in the market.”

Source: Kantar Worldpanel

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