China’s smartphone sales declined for 10 consecutive weeks since the sixth week of 2022 when compared to the same period in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s China Weekly Sales Tracker. Weakened consumer sentiment caused by the Chinese government’s “dynamic zero-Covid” policy was one of the main drivers for this decline. It is now evident that consumer sentiment becomes weak every time strong COVID-19 quarantine measures are taken.
From the end of January, during the Beijing Winter Olympics, smartphone sales began to decline YoY as the Chinese government strengthened quarantine measures. Again, at the end of March, sales fell further as a lockdown of major cities such as Shanghai began. However, the Chinese consumer sentiment picked up during the Labor Day holiday, so we expect to see some recovery.
Major brands couldn’ t avoid this overall market contraction. Major Chinese smartphone brands, except Honor, failed to avoid the impact and their sales declined YoY. Huawei and OPPO showed more sales drop than market average for 15 weeks. Meanwhile, Xiaomi momentarily exceeded the previous year’s sales due to the launch of the Redmi K40s and Redmi K50 series, but this rebound did not last long. Apple’s sales volume increased YoY until the 10th week, but even iPhone sales started to decrease as iPhone 13 series sales declined.
Exhibit 2: China Smartphone Sales Growth YoY by brand, 1st – 17th week 2022 vs 2021
Unlike other Chinese brands, HONOR is rapidly expanding its market share with an average weekly growth of 132% YoY, thanks to strong sales of the Honor 60 series.