China's Smartphone Market Grew 10% QoQ but Declined 9% YoY in Q2 2019

Q2 2019 Shipments in China’s smartphone market was less than 100 million units for the second consecutive quarter.

Huawei was the only brand in the top five to show YoY growth with a 36% market share, reaching a record high.

 Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi –August 2nd, 2019

Smartphone shipments in China fell 9% year-on-year (YoY) during Q2 2019, the third consecutive quarter of a YoY fall, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service. However, on a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) basis, shipments grew 10% driven by product launches by several vendors. The top five brands accounted for a record 92% of the market, but the growth of their overall market share slowed down.

Commenting on the overall Chinese smartphone market, James Yan, Research Director at Counterpoint Research, said, “The largest smartphone market in the world continued to be sluggish in H1 2019 compared to H2 2018. The economic downturn in China, which has resulted in consumers’ prolonged replacement cycles for smartphones is the main cause of the decline. Ordinary electronic product upgrades can hardly stimulate consumers’ desire to buy in a gloomy economic scenario. However, consumer demand continues to remain divided. While some are delaying smartphone upgrades, others are buying other electronic products, such as smartwatches and smart speakers, to satisfy their desire for freshness. In addition, other factors that helped drive up sales sequentially in Q2 2019 include OEMs launching a large number of new models to make full use of the sales peak during the summer break and 618 e-commerce festival.”

Exhibit 1: China Preliminary Top 10 Smartphone Shipment and Market Share Q2 2019

Top 10 Smartphone Shipment and Market Share Q2 2019 ChinaSource: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor service Q2 2019

Huawei (including the HONOR brand) leads the Chinese smartphone market with its market share growing to 36%, reaching a record high. According to Counterpoint Research, Huawei’s total shipments in Q2 reached 35.2 million units. Of these, the high-end P30 series accounted for more than five million units, the mid-end Enjoy 9 series contributed close to five million units, and the monthly average shipments of Nova 4 series exceeded one million units. About Huawei’s performance, Yan added, “Since the trade ban by the US, Huawei and HONOR increased manpower to promote sales in China. For example, the two brands are exploring more and deeper channel relationships, while most of the product supplies resumed after a short-term impact. Moreover, most of the smartphone services and applications are from Chinese players. Therefore, Chinese consumers are not affected by the US ban on Huawei. On the contrary, some consumers have even started to support Huawei. In addition, the HONOR brand also drove up Huawei’s overall performance. For example, the HONOR 8X performed well with shipments of two million units while the newly launched HONOR 20 shipped almost one million in the first month.”

For OPPO, the A9 replaced the A5 as the best-selling model, followed by the Reno series with shipments of nearly three million units. For Vivo, the S1 and Z5 series are the bright spots. Overall, with almost 19% market share for both OPPO and Vivo, the brands became the second and third largest brands in China, respectively. Speaking about the performance of Vivo and OPPO, Mengmeng Zhang, Research Analyst at Counterpoint, added, “Vivo and OPPO are neck and neck. Vivo performed well with the thinner X27 series and new sub-brand series, while OPPO climbed to the second spot by sponsoring global sports events.”

Xiaomi is still in the recovery stage in Q2 when compared to last year but increased 8% QoQ. Yan said, “The reason behind Xiaomi’s recovery is that Redmi Note 7 reached the peak of production and demand in Q2 after the production ramp-up in Q1, which drove up its shipments. Redmi Note 7 is the best-selling model followed by Xiaomi 9 series. Redmi K20 series, launched in this May, is expected to contribute more sales.”

Apple‘s iPhones shipped less than six million, with a 6% market share, the lowest level in a year. The iPhone XR became the best-selling model with a price reduction promotion and contributed to 67% of Apple’s shipments.

According to data from Counterpoint, Samsung stayed flat in terms of YoY shipments. Research Analyst Flora Tang said, “Samsung’s market strategy in China has shifted in 2019 to a more cost-effective route. For example, the launch of the low-to-mid-end Galaxy A series helped Samsung’s sales growth during the promotion period of the summer vacation.”

Meanwhile, OnePlus continues to invest heavily in high-end products. OnePlus 7 Pro performed quite well with its excellent camera and performance. As a new brand, Realme sold well in the first two months of the launch. Its unique brand design is expected to attract more young consumers who pursue individuality. Its performance drove up the growth of the “others” category. Further, ZTE and Lenovo did not invest much in the Chinese market and are lacking freshness. However, ZTE is actively looking for 5G opportunities.

The comprehensive and in-depth Q2 2019 Market Monitor is available for subscribing clients. Please feel free to contact us at press(at)  for further questions regarding our in-depth, latest research, insights or press enquiries.

The Market Monitor research is based on sell-in (shipments) estimates based on vendor’s IR results, vendor polling triangulated with sell-through (sales), supply chain checks and secondary research.

Analyst Contacts:

James Yan闫占孟

Mengmeng Zhang

Flora Tang

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