Just as Apple overtook Samsung as the worldwide smartphone leader in 2023, iPhone also became China’s favorite smartphone during that timeframe, according to a new report Thursday from International Data Tracker (IDC).
Apple captured 17.3% of China’s smartphone market in 2023, up from 16.8% in 2022 — albeit in a shrinking marketplace where smartphone shipments declined 5% overall, but with signs of recovery showing up late in the year.
In 2023, Apple topped smartphone sales in China for the first time
“The last time a company not named Samsung was at the top of the smartphone market was 2010, and for 2023 it is now Apple,” IDC wrote about the January 15 report, reflected in the chart below. “A sort of shifting of power at the top of the largest consumer electronics market was driven by an all-time high market share for Apple and a first time at the top.”
Top smartphone companies globally in 2023:
And that global dominance appears to translate to dominance in China, where iPhone entered the market in 2009 and Apple opened its 56th retail store in the country in November 2023. The smartphone market there has contracted substantially but showed signs of recovery in the fourth quarter of 2023, with year-over-year growth of 1.2% on shipments of 73.6 million units after 10 straight quarters of decline.
“Apple’s climb to the top spot in 2023, especially in light of renewed competition from Huawei and the soft spending sentiment, marks a tremendous success for Apple,” said Arthur Guo, senior research analyst in Client System Research for IDC China.
“Apple achieved this thanks to timely price promotions in its third-party channels, which stimulated demand,” he added. “Meanwhile, Honor maintained its number 2 position thanks to improvement in its channel partnerships and a well-rounded product strategy, capturing the high end with its successful foldable lineup and the low-to-mid range with several popular models.”
Top smartphone companies in China in 2023:
IDC’s lists of top smartphone companies differ at global and China levels, of course. Samsung is number 2 globally but not on the list in China. There Chinese companies Honor and Oppo are second and third after Apple, respectively.
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