China's overall smartphone sales declined 17 per cent (on-year) in 2020, its sharpest decline in the last three years, and Apple was the only brand to witness a positive growth in the market, a new report said on Friday.
Huawei (including Honor) took the top spot in the market, capturing 41 per cent markert share last year. Apple's strong growth was due to the debut of iPhone 12 series, which comes with 5G connectivity and models across a wider price range.
In addition, thanks to heavy price cuts and promotions, the iPhone 11 series continued to do well even after the launch of iPhone 12 series.
The iPhone 11 was the best-selling model on JD.com during the e-commerce festival sales. The impressive growth of both iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 series helped push Apple's market share in China to 16 oer cent in Q4 2020, according to Counterpoint Research.
"A weakened economy and longer smartphone replacement cycles all contributed to the lacklustre demand. However, China's 5G smartphone sales surged with Chinese OEMs aggressively rolling out more value-for-money offerings," said research analyst Mengmeng Zhang.
"5G penetration rate became even more pronounced in Q4 with the launch of iPhone 12. 5G smartphones accounted for more than 60 per cent of smartphones sold in China, up from just 5 per cent in Q4 2019," Zhang added.
China's 5G smartphone sales accounted for more than 60 per cent of total smartphone sales in Q4 2020.
"Following component shortages after the US trade sanctions effective September 15, sales of Huawei and Honor dropped a staggering 26 per cent (YoY) in Q4 2020. Their combined market share also slipped to 32 per cent in the same quarter," said research analyst Flora Tang.
Xiaomi registered a double-digit decline of 14 per cent YoY in 2020, but still outperformed the market.
Xiaomi's sales rebounded strongly starting the second half of 2020 on good performance of the Xiaomi 10, Redmi 9A, Redmi Note 9 Pro, Xiaomi 10 series and Redmi K30 series.
OPPO and vivo sales declined in 2020 following the overall market trend. Nonetheless, OPPO had its strongest quarter in Q4, increasing 9 per cent compared to Q3 on strong momentum from the OPPO A32, A72 and Reno 5 series, the report noted.