Counterpoint Survey: How Popular is iPhone X with Chinese Consumers?

Apple surpassed Samsung to become the top smartphone brand globally during Q4 2017 (see here) though Apple’s traction in China peaked with the iPhone6/6Plus ‘super cycle’. Since then the growth for iPhone has been negative and its Chinese competitors have surpassed Apple with more popular brands (see here) or models. (see here). iPhone X is therefore critical for Apple to regain its preeminence in the world’s largest smartphone market. Is iPhone X revolutionary enough to bring back that “super cycle” in China, one of the most important markets for Apple after its home market (see here).

The latest research from Counterpoint’s multi-country and multi-topic consumer insight survey gauges smartphone buyers’ attitudes and intent towards the world’s best-selling flagship phone in 4Q17, the product expected to be critical to Apple’s success this year.

The survey was conducted jointly by Counterpoint Research and Bytedance (Jinri Toutiao) utilizing Bytedance’s leading news platform in China. The participants were a mix of smartphone users that included around half that were already iPhone users. The full report is for purchasing clients, but some of the key findings include:

1. iPhone X Purchase Intent in China: 

(Survey results from Counterpoint Research and ByteDance)

54% of the respondents showed an intent to purchase an iPhone X. The key reasons driving the interest were:

  • Apple iOS software’s user experience and friendliness
  • iPhone X’s attractive new features

46% of the respondents were not interested in buying an iPhone, key reasons included:

  • The high-ticket price of iPhone X
  • Adaptiveness and Flexibility of Android (AOSP) Platform


  • The iPhone X is a significant upgrade and departure from the iconic iPhone design from the last ten years. This is designed to commemorate ten years of iPhone and to start a new design language for iPhone for the next decade.
  • For existing iPhone users, this will be a significant upgrade. Though the price is steep for even the many premium iPhone users, considering the pace at which technology is changing.
  • In China, Apple’s brand equity, overall design language and slick iOS software are key iPhone purchase drivers. Apple has got these factors right, however our research suggests that while there’s sufficient novelty in iPhone X to attract a good number of iPhone users, there is uncertainty whether it can inspire the bulk of existing iPhone users; price likely the main limiting factor.
  • And Android users, while moderately interested, are likely to remain largely unmoved.

To access the full report, click here.