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Apple’s iPhone 15 Fails To Impress Chinese Consumers

The iPhone 15 has had a disappointing start in China due to several factors, including low consumer spending and demand, a backlash from overheating models, and strong competition from Huawei Technologies, as different analyses show.

According to Counterpoint Research, Apple’s latest phone sales are 4.5% lower than the iPhone 14 in the first 17 days after launch. Jefferies analysts led by Edison Lee said the iPhone 15 sales dropped even more, by a double-digit percentage, compared to its predecessor.

Huawei surpassed Apple in overall sales thanks to the successful launch of the Mate 60 Pro, which has helped to make the iPhone’s performance this year as one of the worst since its launch in China since around 2018, when local brands like Oppo and Vivo started to attract Asian customers.

According to Counterpoint, experts are pointing fingers at China’s weak economy, which has not fully recovered from the Covid crisis, for the iPhone’s decline.

But the research firm also noted that the iPhone 15 did much better in the U.S., where it had a double-digit increase over 2022 in the first nine days of sales.

However, the iPhone’s launch in China was delayed by several weeks after the Mate 60 Pro, which was praised as a breakthrough for its advanced processor made in China despite US sanctions.

The iPhone also faced a new restriction from the government, which banned its use in government agencies and state-owned enterprises, highlighting Apple’s growing difficulties there.

“The US is hot right now with back-to-back stellar weekends for the new iPhone,” said Counterpoint research director Jeff Fieldhack.

“It’s a positive sign from the biggest iPhone market in the world. So definitely takes some of the sting off the China numbers.”

Despite the lacklustre launch in China and the release of reports on how the iPhone has fared, Apple’s stock price was almost unchanged in New York.

Huawei also remains a threat. Many analysts think Huawei’s increasing popularity could threaten Apple’s hold on the market’s premium segment.

In 2023, Counterpoint expects that Huawei could sell around 5 and 6 million units of the Mate 60 Pro, and analysts predict that number to grow to double-digits in 2024.

It is official – Huawei has now overtaken Apple as the market leader in China, according to analysts.

“The trend suggests iPhone would lose to Huawei in 2024,” said analysts led by Edison Lee. “We believe weak demand in China would eventually lead to lower-than-expected global shipments of iPhone.”

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