Apple Inc.’s new iPhone 15 is selling far worse in China than its predecessor, according to separate analyses, reflecting stubbornly weak consumption as well as the rise of rivals like Huawei Technologies Co.
(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc.’s new iPhone 15 is selling far worse in China than its predecessor, according to separate analyses, reflecting stubbornly weak consumption as well as the rise of rivals like Huawei Technologies Co.
Sales of Apple’s flagship device are down 4.5% compared with the iPhone 14 over their first 17 days after release, market tracker Counterpoint Research estimated in previously unreported figures provided to Bloomberg News. Jefferies analysts led by Edison Lee reckoned sales of the iPhone 15 were down by an even sharper double-digit percentage from its predecessor after Huawei outsold Apple overall, powered by the surprising debut of the Mate 60 Pro.
The twin reports mark a potential blow to Apple at a time it’s grappling with the weakest smartphone demand in a decade and a backlash from overheating models. If the initial estimates are accurate, they represent one of the iPhone’s worst debuts in China since around 2018, when local names like Oppo and Vivo began to captivate Asian consumers.
Counterpoint blamed the iPhone’s slump in China mainly on an economy struggling to rebound from its Covid trough. And it stressed that in the US, the iPhone 15 likely posted a double-digit rise over 2022 in the first nine days of sales.
But the iPhone’s debut in China came weeks after the launch of the Mate 60 Pro, celebrated as a triumph over US sanctions because of its advanced made-in-China processor. It also coincided with a government mandate to expand a ban on iPhone use to government agencies and state companies, underscoring Apple’s growing challenges there.
“The US is hot right now with back-to-back stellar weekends for the new iPhone,” said Counterpoint research director Jeff Fieldhack. “It’s a positive sign from the biggest iPhone market in the world. So definitely takes some of the sting off the China numbers.”
Apple shares fell 0.8% at 10:04 a.m. in New York.
Analysts remain divided about the longer-term impact in China, the world’s largest smartphone arena. Many analysts argue Huawei’s rising prominence could erode Apple’s dominance of the higher end of the market.
Counterpoint estimates the Chinese company could sell 5 to 6 million units of the Mate 60 Pro alone this year. Analysts estimate that could rise to double-digits in 2024. Huawei has now taken the top spot in the market from Apple, Jefferies wrote in a note on Monday.
“The trend suggests iPhone would lose to Huawei in 2024,” Lee and colleagues wrote. “We believe weak demand in China would eventually lead to lower-than-expected global shipments of iPhone.”
Read More: What Huawei’s Comeback Says About US-China Tech War
(Updates with shares in seventh paragraph)
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