iPhone 15 Sales Struggle in China: What’s Behind Apple’s Market Woes?

HomeTech NewsiPhone 15 Sales Struggle in China: What's Behind Apple's Market Woes?


  • iPhone 15 series records 4.5% dip in initial 17-day launch period in China compared to its predecessor.
  • Analysts predict possible double-digit sales decline for iPhone 15 in China, potentially the worst year since 2018.
  • Huawei’s Mate 60 Pro emerges as a top competitor, projected to sell 5-6 million units in China.
  • Despite China woes, iPhone 15 sees robust sales in the US, with Apple gaining 7% market share in Q2 2023.

If recent reports are to be believed Apple’s latest release, the iPhone 15, isn’t doing as well as the company might have hoped in China.

In fact, it appears as per a Counterpoint report the iPhone 15 is down by 4.5 percent as compared to the iPhone 14 during the initial 17 days of launch.

Analysts are predicting a possible double-digit drop in sale numbers for the iPhone 15 which would put it on course for Apple’s worst year in the Chinese smartphone market since 2018.

The presence of local player Huawei, who has been shrugged off international markets by US sanctions, is giving Apple a lot of headaches in the company’s premium price bracket.

The Huawei Mate 60 Pro has been the top competitor to the iPhone 15 series and reports indicate the former could sell as many as 5-6 million units in the country.

iPhone 15
iPhone 15 Sales Struggle in China

Apple has historically lagged behind its Chinese counterparts for various reasons in China.

The most obvious one is Apple’s playfield being a more premium market segment for which demand is lower as compared to more budget alternatives.

Apart from players like Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO, and Huawei integrate various compulsory Chinese software services quite seamlessly into its UI, something which Apple has found hard to do.

However, even with its shortfalls in China, the iPhone 15 is making a lot of strides in its primary US market.

Analysts have reported “back-to-back stellar weekends” as far as the iPhone 15 sales figures go in the country.

The Counterpoint report mentions a 7 percent growth in market share for Apple in Q2 2023 as compared to last year, which signals positive intentions and should offset the lack of sales in China.

US Smartphone Shipments Market Share (Q1 2022- Q2 2023)
US Smartphone Shipments Market Share (Q1 2022- Q2 2023)

Erstwhile, an August report had projected iPhone shipments in India for 2023 are estimated to hit the 9 million mark, signifying a robust 40 percent increase from 6.5 million units shipped in 2022.

This demonstrates a consistent upward trajectory, as Apple had only shipped approximately 4.5 million iPhones in 2021 and 2.7 million units in 2020.

China Smartphone Shipments Market Data (Q1 2022 – Q2 2023)
China Smartphone Shipments Market Data (Q1 2022 – Q2 2023)

Source: Market Monitor Service

China Smartphone Shipments Market Share (%)
Brands Q1
OPPO* 19% 18% 18% 16% 18% 18%
vivo 17% 20% 20% 18% 16% 18%
Apple 18% 13% 14% 22% 20% 16%
HONOR 20% 20% 17% 15% 16% 15%
Xiaomi 15% 17% 13% 12% 12% 14%
Others 11% 12% 18% 17% 18% 19%


Ques) Why are iPhone 15 sales dropping in China?

A Counterpoint report suggests a 4.5% decline in sales during the initial 17 days of the iPhone 15 launch, with analysts predicting a potential double-digit dip.

Ques) How is Huawei affecting iPhone 15 sales?

Huawei’s Mate 60 Pro is providing stiff competition in China’s premium smartphone market, potentially selling up to 6 million units.

Ques) How is Apple performing in other markets?

The iPhone 15 is doing well in the US, contributing to a 7% growth in Apple’s market share in Q2 2023.

Ques) How is Apple doing in India?

Apple is projected to ship 9 million iPhones in 2023 in India, marking a 40% increase from the previous year.

Also Read: Why is the iPhone 15 Pro Priced Higher in India? Unpacking the Cost Factors

Also Read: iPhone 15 Battery Introduces Smart Limit to Curb Charging Above 80 percent 

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