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China’s Smartphone Sales Slump to Lowest Level Since 2012

Covid lockdowns in the second quarter hit retail sales and China’s economy grew just 0.4% compared to market expectations of at least double that, analyst Ivan Lam said

Smartphone sales plunged in the second quarter to levels not seen for nearly a decade.
Smartphone sales plunged in China during the second quarter to levels not seen for nearly a decade. File photo of a Huawei 5G (company image).


Smartphone sales in China have tumbled to their lowest level since the iPhone 5 was introduced in late 2012, as the country grapples with repeated lockdowns and low economic growth, a Counterpoint report says.

Sales in the second quarter of this year dropped 14% from 2021 to about 60 million, which the market research firm said was worse than pandemic levels in 2020 and less than half of China’s historic 131 million high in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“During this period, major cities across China went through full or partial lockdowns,” Counterpoint senior analyst Ivan Lam said. “China’s economy merely grew 0.4% compared to market expectations of 0.8%-1%.”

Services were the hardest hit, with retail sales of consumer goods plummeting 11% in April, Lam said.


Apple Makes up Ground in China

America’s Apple increased its smartphone market share in China to over 15% with the unveiling of the iPhone 13, said the report, but leading Chinese phonemakers Vivo, OppoXiaomi and Huawei all suffered a loss of market share.

Honor was the only Chinese phone manufacturer to buck the trend, enjoying a dramatic 103% sales increase from the previous year that lifted its market share to 18.3%, to second place behind Vivo (19.8%).

The Shenzhen-based company has coverage in lower-tier Chinese cities, which meant it endured fewer lockdowns, Counterpoint research analyst Archie Zhang said, and is therefore better protected from the turbulence its rivals face.

Lam said they expect smartphone sales to be better in the next quarter, although with demand continuing to be underwhelming and a full recovery unlikely.


  • by Alfie Habershon



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Alfie Habershon

Alfie is a Reporter at Asia Financial. He previously lived in Mumbai reporting on India's economy and healthcare for data journalism initiative IndiaSpend, as well as having worked for London based Tortoise Media.


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