China’s Singles’ Day Smartphone Sales Drop 0.7% YoY But Major Local OEMs See Good Growth

China preludes the global festival sales season with its Singles’ Day online shopping festival, held from November 1 to November 11 in recent years. Major smartphone OEMs come with discount offers and new models to grab sales share during the shopping festival. However, during the Singles’ Day period this year, the overall sales of smartphones in China went down 0.7% YoY, primarily due to the iPhone 13 series’ early release compared to the iPhone 12 series and Huawei’s decline.

Except for Huawei, all major OEMs saw a significant increase in sales. vivo’s sales increased 19% YoY to more than 2.6 million, giving the OEM the top spot with a market share of 20%. Xiaomi (19%) and Apple (18%) took the second and third spots.

Major OEMs’ Market Share During 2021 Singles’ Day Shopping Season

Source: Counterpoint Research

Note: Xiaomi includes Redmi and vivo includes IQOO. 

 

Xiaomi, being an online-centric smartphone brand, had the biggest promotions among major OEMs. For example, the Mi11 Pro and Mix 4 models, launched in March and August, were sold RMB800 or $127 cheaper than their launch prices. Such aggressive promotions also reflect the stock position of models. Xiaomi’s popular models, such as the Redmi K40, were RMB200 cheaper during the Singles’ Day period, in line with other OEMs. Xiaomi’s sales increased 40% to 2.45 million units this year.

Apple’s sales increased 27% YoY but this hasn’t fully reflected the whole picture. Apple resumed its normal launch cycle this year and unveiled the iPhone 13 series in September. After almost two months, it was incredible to see Apple retaining the third spot when other OEMs were offering price cuts. Due to supply issues, the normal wait time for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max ranges between four and five weeks. Some Chinese customers choose to pay premiums to get the new phones

delivered immediately.

The iPhone 13 series sales are expected to outperform that of the iPhone 12 series and part of the iPhone 13 demand will be postponed to Q1 2022 when the traditional Chinese New Year is celebrated.

 

Source: Counterpoint Research

From being a single-day event, Singles’ Day has now become a three-week shopping season (some vendors start accepting pre-orders on October 20 and begin deliveries on November 1) and is no longer exclusive to online-centric brands. Offline-centric smartphone brands’ offerings focus on value-for-money and mid-tier models during the event. In 2021, such models included the HONOR X30 series, vivo T1 series and Redmi Note 11 series. But no OEM chose to challenge Apple with premium products.