China Q3 smartphone sales down 5%, but Huawei boosts share-Canalys

BEIJING (Reuters) -Smartphone sales in China fell 5% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, extending a declining trend as the economy slows and cost-conscious consumers delay phone upgrades, according to a research firm.

Smartphone shipments dropped year-on-year in the quarter to 66.7 million handsets, Canalys reported on Thursday.

The top five smartphone brands in China all saw declining or flat sales compared to last year. Vivo experienced the steepest drop at 26%, followed by Oppo with a 10% decrease, Apple with a 6% decline, Honor with a 1% dip, and Xiaomi which was flat year-over-year.

Honor, formerly Huawei’s smartphone brand which the Chinese tech giant sold off in 2020, took first place in China with shipments of 11.8 million units and an 18% market share. Oppo and Apple tied for second place, both with 16% share.

Apple maintained its high ranking partly thanks to the launch of its iPhone 15 series in China on Sept. 22, according to Canalys.

Huawei was the sixth largest smartphone brand in China during the quarter. While Canalys did not provide Huawei’s specific market share, it noted that Huawei’s share increased to reach levels comparable with leading manufacturers in China thanks to strong demand for its new Mate 60 products.

Huawei made a surprise launch of its premium Mate 60 Pro phone in late August, which many analysts said uses a domestically made chip and marks a breakthrough in the face of years of U.S. technology sanctions against the company.

“If Huawei’s new Kirin chips are expanded to mid-range and low-end product lines in the future, it will have the potential to further disrupt the competition among top brands in the market,” said Canalys analyst Lucas Zhong.

According to Counterpoint Research, Huawei sold an estimated 1.6 million units of its Mate 60 series handsets within the first six weeks of its launch. Analyst Ivan Lam stated the Mate 60 has seen high demand since its launch.

Sales of Apple’s iPhone 15, however, underperformed early sales of the iPhone 14, Counterpoint also said.

(Reporting by Yelin Mo, Liz Lee in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Jamie Freed and Muralikumar Anantharaman)