Canalys revealed China’s smartphone market recorded strong gains in Q1, citing demand for 5G plans and the release of more compatible models as drivers of a replacement cycle.
Shipments grew 27 per cent year-on-year to 92.4 million units, which the research company said was more in line with the comparable period of 2019 than 2020, when the market was hit by Covid-19 (coronavirus).
Research analyst Amber Liu noted “an unusually high number of smartphone launches” in Q1 compared with the same period of 2020, predicting market momentum will “continue as 5G penetration accelerates”.
“Operators are more determined than ever to migrate 4G subscribers to 5G. Many provincial operators are only offering 5G tariffs when consumers start a new contract or attempt to renew” existing contracts.
“We expect 5G smartphones will become the de facto choice for the majority of Chinese consumers when they replace a device from this year.”
VP of mobility Nicole Peng added the afffordable 5G segment “is just low-hanging fruit” for Huawei’s rivals, but highlighted the vendor remained strong in the high-end.
The sale of its Honor unit was reflected in Huawei’s Q1 position: the vendor slipped to third place behind Vivo and Oppo with shipments down 50 per cent year-on-year and its market share declining from 41 per cent to 16 per cent.
Vivo’s shipments grew 79 per cent, taking its share from 17 per cent to 23 per cent, with Oppo up 65 per cent for a 22 per cent share compared with 17 per cent.
Xiaomi ranked fourth, with shipments 75 per cent higher and its market share up 4 percentage points to 15 per cent, with Apple shipping 49 per cent more units for a 13 per cent share.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back