Counterpoint Research analysts had interesting takeaways from the largest shopping days of 2021. These insights highlight some major trends of 2021 that will continue into 2022.
China’s 11.11 Singles’ Day Sales
The Singles’ Day holiday in China has turned into a two-week event from being a one-day event originally. In 2021, volumes were down about 1% YoY. However, this can be explained from the earlier launch of the iPhone 13 series compared to the iPhone 12 series – volumes were pulled in earlier to September and October. Most of the major OEMs saw double-digit growth YoY.
Volumes were more concentrated among the major OEMs. vivo, Xiaomi, Apple, OPPO and HONOR were all relatively close in sales during the Singles’ Day holiday. There will probably not be one dominating brand through 2022. OEMs will rise to #1 around key flagship and high-volume product launches. This is similar to 2021 when Huawei, OPPO, vivo and Apple all claimed top spots around key launch months.
Another 11.11 takeaway is that there has not been measurable anti-Apple sentiment despite much anti-US sentiment through the growing trade tensions between the two countries. As Huawei volumes are on a steep decline now and many Chinese believe Huawei has been wronged by the US government, anti-Apple sentiment is both possible and logical. But still, Apple has managed to galvanize its position in the premium segment in China. Apple’s market share in the $800 and above price band in China has grown to the same levels as other mature markets.
US Black Friday and Christmas Season Sales
In the US, there was much larger store traffic during the 2021 holiday season compared to 2020. However, shortages hurt overall smartphone sales and pushed some connections into 2022, especially in the flagship space. The iPhone 13 series (especially the Pro and Pro Max models), Galaxy S21 series and the new Google Pixel 6/6 Pro saw shortages through Christmas, which pushed some sales into 2022.
With store traffic up, online sales have fallen. Online sales are larger than pre-pandemic levels but only about 5% higher. Carrier channels and national retail channels continue to woo consumers with large promotional offers, which need an old device to be traded in to secure the highest rebate. For the masses, it is easier to go into stores to make the exchange than to mail in devices and do a SIM swap.
The iPhone 13 family is a strong refresh for Apple. The company has struggled to meet the demand for the Pro Max and Pro models. Counterpoint surveys have shown some ‘buying down’ to the iPhone 13 due to these stockouts. However, shortages of older devices such as the iPhone 12, iPhone 11 and iPhone SE have also pushed consumers to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini. We suspect the iPhone supply will meet demand in February.
After about seven weeks of sales, the iPhone 13 has remained the top activated SKU in the US. This can partially be explained by the better availability of the iPhone 13 than that of the Pro Max and Pro models. In addition, the iPhone 13 at $800 (minus promos) is seen as an attractive offer and easy sell for the major carriers and retailers.
For complete model-level sales details, contact info(at)counterpointresearch.com .