Apple still holds the crown in terms of smartphone sales in China, widely considered the largest mobile market in the world. But it appears that the Chinese market overall is not buying as many smartphones as before.
During the first quarter of 2015, Apple's market share in China was boosted by the release of its two newest flagship devices, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Samsung, on the other hand, saw its market share dip significantly. But while the two industry leaders have differing quarterly sales results, both have to contend with the fact that smartphone sales in the Chinese market are down. As a matter of fact, this marks the first time in six years that the Chinese smartphone market has decreased year over year.
Indeed, the total shipments of smartphones may have reached 98.8 million units in China during the first quarter of the year, but when you compare that with the 103.2 million units that were shipped during the same period exactly one year ago, this year's numbers are actually down by 4.3 percent, according to research firm IDC.
Still, Apple should be happy with its quarter. The mobile giant managed to ship 14.5 million units of its iPhone smartphones, which equate to a 14.7 market share. Compared to last year's first quarter market share of 8.7 percent, that is equivalent to a gain of 62.1 percent.
Enjoying home court advantage, Chinese phone makers Xiaomi and Huawei are in second and third place, with 13.5 million and 11.2 million unit shipments, respectively.
As for Samsung, things could definitely be better. The South Korean phone maker shipped 9.6 million units to the Chinese market during the first quarter of the year, which is vastly removed from the 20.5 million units it managed during the same period a year ago. After suffering a 53 percent decline in the number of shipments, Samsung now finds itself at a distant fourth place (fighting for the spot with another Chinese mobile brand, Lenovo).
But what is the possible reason for the overall decline in smartphone sales in the Chinese market though? It is estimated that there are almost 520 million mobile users in the region (for comparison, the entire population of the United States is close to 320 million). But industry analysts are speculating that the Chinese mobile market is now beginning to shift from a market of first time phone owners to second time buyers. The key now for players is to convince existing mobile users to upgrade to new smartphones. Of course, with the changing dynamics of the Chinese market, phone makers will now have to adapt, too.
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