- Weak customer demand amid economic headwinds hit smartphone sales during the 618 period this year (June 1-June 18).
- vivo took the biggest market share during the sales period while Huawei experienced significant growth.
- Online-centric Xiaomi increased most sequentially this year. It offered bigger discounts on select high-memory products.
- Our forecast for China’s smartphone market has been revised downwards to reflect the latest developments.
China’s smartphone sales fell 8% YoY during the 618 sales period in 2023 (June 1-June 18), indicating weak customer demand for smartphones amid economic headwinds, according to Counterpoint’s 618 Sales Period Thematic Report. In terms of the competitive landscape for smartphone brands, vivo secured the largest share in the 618 sales period this year, capturing 18.2% of the market. vivo was followed by Apple at 17.9% and HONOR at 15.4%.
Apple continued to excel in the premium segment, exhibiting an 8% YoY increase without facing any significant competition. To boost iPhone sales during the 618 period, e-commerce websites offered discounts of around 20%.
Huawei saw a substantial 52% YoY growth in sales. The company declared that it had resumed normal product launches this year, unveiling smartphones ranging from the Mate X3 to Enjoy 60 series in H1 2023, covering almost all price segments. The accelerated pace of product launches is expected to contribute to Huawei’s sustained rapid YoY growth in H2 2023.
The price cuts implemented by OEMs proved effective in helping the market recover from the significantly low smartphone sales witnessed in May and April. During the June 1-June 18 period, the total market sales increased by around 30% compared to the previous 18 days.
Online-centric Xiaomi increased most this year in sequential terms. It offered bigger discounts on select high-memory products. Xiaomi also expanded its product portfolio by introducing the K60 16GB+1TB variant at a competitive price of RMB 2,899 (~$400).
The weak sales during the 618 period also fell short of earlier expectations, despite efforts by most Android OEMs to entice consumers with price cuts. Due to the uncertain economic outlook, consumers were more cautious in their spending, including on durable goods like smartphones.
As a result, we have revised downwards our 2023 forecast for the China smartphone market, from flat growth to a low single-digit YoY decrease.