China Smartphone Market Declines 14% YoY in Q3 2020; Over 50% Smartphones Sold Were 5G Capable

  • Smartphone sales in China recovered slowly with 6% QoQ growth in Q3. But the growth was still down 14% YoY.
  • Xiaomi outperformed the market as the only major OEM to achieve a positive YoY growth in Q3 in China.
  • Huawei continued to lead the market with 45% share in Q3. However, its sales have started to decline.


Beijing, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, San Diego, Buenos Aires – October 29, 2020

Smartphone sales in China recovered slowly with 6% QoQ (quarter-on-quarter) growth in Q3 2020, according to Counterpoint’s Market Pulse – Monthly Smartphone Sales Tracking Service. However, the country’s smartphone market still saw 14% YoY (year-on-year) decline and it was yet to recover to the pre-COVID level.

Commenting on the overall Chinese smartphone market, Research Analyst Flora Tang said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has been effectively contained in mainland China with rare new cases reported locally in Q3. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, China’s economy grew by 4.9% in Q3, recovering from a contraction of 6.8% in Q1 and a mild growth of 3.2% in Q2. Nevertheless, the domestic consumption in China remained weak despite the sequential perk-up, along with a worse unemployment rate. The surveyed jobless rate in China’s urban areas in September was up by 0.2 percent point, in which the surveyed unemployment rate of college graduates aged between 20 and 24 was up by 4 percent points. During the post-pandemic recovery period in Q3, the overall market demand in China remained stagnant despite smartphone OEMs’ efforts to stimulate sales.”

Exhibit 1: YoY Growth of Overall Smartphone Sales volume in China

(Sept 2019 – Sept 2020)

Source: Monthly Smartphone Market Pulse, September 2020

Commenting on key vendors’ performances, Research Analyst Mengmeng Zhang said, “Huawei continued to lead the market with 45% share in the quarter. Various Huawei 5G smartphones, including the premium P40/P40 Pro 5G series, Mate 30 5G series and the affordable premium Nova 7 5G series, received positive market feedback to dominate China’s top 10 best-selling models list. However, attacked by the escalated US trade ban since mid-September, Huawei has suffered severe component shortage and its sales have started to decline.

The iPhone 11, grabbing near 5% market share, remained the best-selling smartphone model in China during the quarter. Nevertheless, the overall sales volume of Apple dropped 7% YoY, impacted by the deferred debut of the iPhone 12 series.

Xiaomi’s share increased to 11% in Q3, outperforming the market with 8% YoY growth in sales volume. Driven by the aggressive promotions during the OEM’s decennial celebrations in August, Xiaomi became the only major OEM that achieved positive YoY growth in Q3.

Sales of OPPO and vivo declined YoY but saw an increase from the last quarter, driven by the strong momentum of their new flagship series — the  OPPO Reno 4/4 Pro 5G and vivo X50/X50 Pro/X50 Pro Plus 5G. OPPO’s Reno 4/Reno 4 Pro 5G were the highlight, achieving 90% growth during the first quarter of sales compared to the predecessors (sales of the Reno 3/Reno 3 Pro 5G during Q1 2020). For this strong performance, the OPPO Reno 4 5G emerged to become the only 5G model apart from Huawei’s to be presented in China’s top-selling smartphone models list.”

Exhibit 2: Smartphone OEMs’ Sales Volume Market Share % in China, Q3 2020

Smartphone OEMs Sales Volume Market Share in China Q3 2020Source: Monthly Smartphone Market Pulse, September 2020

Note: Huawei includes HONOR, vivo includes IQOO, Xiaomi includes Redmi, OPPO doesn’t include realme

Exhibit 3: Ranking of Top-10 Best-selling Smartphone Models in China, Q3 2020

Source: Monthly Smartphone Market Pulse, September 2020

Discussing the 5G smartphone segment in China, Senior Analyst Ethan Qi said: “From the start of the second half this year, Chinese OEMs have been active in launching price-for-value 5G smartphones in the sub-$300 price band. Some popular models in this segment include the Huawei Enjoy 20 5G, HONOR X10 5G, OPPO A72 5G, vivo Y70S 5G and the Redmi 10X 5G. Aggressive players like realme released four budget 5G models during Q3, and further brought down the price threshold of 5G phones in China to about $150 with the realme V3 5G (starting price of the realme V3 5G is RMB999/$149).

Meanwhile, by the end of September, Chinese telecom operators had built 690,000 units of 5G base stations, fully covering the country’s prefecture-level cities, according to a release from the MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology). Stimulated by efforts from these industrial players, 5G smartphone sales in China continued to surge. In Q3, over 50% smartphones sold in China were 5G enabled, compared to 33% in Q2 and 16% in Q1. With the 5G iPhones lining up across channels in Q4, we expect this share to rise to near 70% by the end of 2020.”

You can also visit our Data Section (updated quarterly) to view the smartphone market share Globally and for the USChina and India.

Analyst Contacts:

Flora Tang

Mengmeng Zhang

Ethan Qi

Tarun Pathak

Follow Counterpoint Research     

One in Three Smartphones Sold was a 5G Phone in China in Q2 2020

  • Huawei captured a massive 60% share of the 5G smartphone market.
  • Huawei reached its highest ever share in China capturing 46% of sales volumes.
  • Apple was the fastest-growing OEM (32% YoY) during the quarter.

New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires – Jul 24th, 2020

Smartphone sales in China declined 17% YoY in Q2 2020, according to Counterpoint’s Market Pulse – Monthly Smartphone Sales Tracking service. However, the sales increased 9% QoQ indicating some signs of recovery. COVID-19 has been mostly contained in China but the demand for smartphones is yet to recover to pre-COVID levels.

Commenting on the overall Chinese smartphone market growth, Mengmeng Zhang, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research, said, “Although China’s commercial activities have resumed since the pandemic has subsided, consumer confidence remains low. Both OEMs and Chinese operators are actively pushing 5G smartphones through lowering prices of 5G devices as well as 5G plans. This has increased the adoption of 5G, with one-third of the total smartphone sales during the quarter were 5G devices, the highest adoption in the world. However, this was still not able to offset the overall market decline.”

Exhibit 1: Smartphone Sales Volumes Share (%) of Key OEMs in China

Counterpoint Q2 2020 Smartphone ÓEMs Sales annual Volume Growth Trends

Source: Monthly Smartphone Market Pulse, July 2020

 Highlighting the fiercely competitive landscape, Flora Tang, Research Analyst at Counterpoint, said, “Huawei continues to be the best performer in the China market, grabbing 46% market share in the quarter. Huawei achieved 14% YoY growth despite the overall market slowdown. China has become the most important market for Huawei as its overseas shipments saw a sharp decline after it lost the ability to use GMS in its latest smartphones. Huawei’s hefty investment in expanding distribution networks both online and offline has paid off. Also, Huawei’s 5G portfolio grew quickly with the help of the high-end Mate 30 and P40 series, as well as mid-tier Nova 7 series.

In terms of growth, Apple was the fastest-growing key OEM during the quarter. Despite the market decline, Apple grew an impressive 32% YoY due to the continued popularity of the iPhone 11 series and price cuts. iPhone SE 2020 also quickly entered among the top 3 best-selling iPhones in Q2 2020. June was the best month in terms of smartphone sales so far this year after COVID-19 outbreak driven by surge in sales by Xiaomi (+42% MoM), Huawei (+11%) ”

Exhibit 2: Q2 2020: Smartphone ÓEMs Sales annual Volume Growth Trends

Counterpoint Q2 2020: Smartphone ÓEMs Sales annual Volume Growth Trends

Source: Monthly Smartphone Market Pulse, July 2020

Discussing the development of 5G smartphones in China, Ethan Qi, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint, highlighted, “Despite a slowdown in the smartphone market in China, Chinese OEMs have picked up the pace in 5G developments that were hampered by COVID-19 disruptions in Q1 2020. In Q2, 33% of smartphones sold were 5G enabled compared to just 16% in Q1. The proportion was even higher in June, where more than 40% of smartphones sold were 5G capable. China’s 5G smartphone market is quite consolidated with HOVX grabbing 96% of the market. Huawei leads in 5G smartphone sales accounting for 60% of the market, followed by Vivo, OPPO, and Xiaomi. 5G smartphones in China are still priced in the mid-to-high price range of USD$400 and above, however, 5G smartphone prices are quickly moving towards lower-tier price bands. High-end 5G smartphones are predominantly from Huawei, while Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi, and Vivo all have various offerings in the mid-tier.”

You can also visit our Data Section (updated quarterly) to view the smartphone market share Globally and from the USAChina, and India.

Analyst Contacts:

Flora Tang

Mengmeng Zhang

Ethan Qi

Tarun Pathak


Follow Counterpoint Research

Term of Use and Privacy Policy

Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited


In order to access Counterpoint Technology Market Research Limited (Company or We hereafter) Web sites, you may be asked to complete a registration form. You are required to provide contact information which is used to enhance the user experience and determine whether you are a paid subscriber or not.
Personal Information When you register on we ask you for personal information. We use this information to provide you with the best advice and highest-quality service as well as with offers that we think are relevant to you. We may also contact you regarding a Web site problem or other customer service-related issues. We do not sell, share or rent personal information about you collected on Company Web sites.

How to unsubscribe and Termination

You may request to terminate your account or unsubscribe to any email subscriptions or mailing lists at any time. In accessing and using this Website, User agrees to comply with all applicable laws and agrees not to take any action that would compromise the security or viability of this Website. The Company may terminate User’s access to this Website at any time for any reason. The terms hereunder regarding Accuracy of Information and Third Party Rights shall survive termination.

Website Content and Copyright

This Website is the property of Counterpoint and is protected by international copyright law and conventions. We grant users the right to access and use the Website, so long as such use is for internal information purposes, and User does not alter, copy, disseminate, redistribute or republish any content or feature of this Website. User acknowledges that access to and use of this Website is subject to these TERMS OF USE and any expanded access or use must be approved in writing by the Company.
– Passwords are for user’s individual use
– Passwords may not be shared with others
– Users may not store documents in shared folders.
– Users may not redistribute documents to non-users unless otherwise stated in their contract terms.

Changes or Updates to the Website

The Company reserves the right to change, update or discontinue any aspect of this Website at any time without notice. Your continued use of the Website after any such change constitutes your agreement to these TERMS OF USE, as modified.
Accuracy of Information: While the information contained on this Website has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, We disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. User assumes sole responsibility for the use it makes of this Website to achieve his/her intended results.

Third Party Links: This Website may contain links to other third party websites, which are provided as additional resources for the convenience of Users. We do not endorse, sponsor or accept any responsibility for these third party websites, User agrees to direct any concerns relating to these third party websites to the relevant website administrator.

Cookies and Tracking

We may monitor how you use our Web sites. It is used solely for purposes of enabling us to provide you with a personalized Web site experience.
This data may also be used in the aggregate, to identify appropriate product offerings and subscription plans.
Cookies may be set in order to identify you and determine your access privileges. Cookies are simply identifiers. You have the ability to delete cookie files from your hard disk drive.