Smartphone shipments to the China market amounted to over 70 million units in the fourth quarter of 2022, soaring more than 20% from a quarter ago thanks to vendors' keen preparation for Singles' Day promotions and inventory ramp-up in December for the Lunar New Year holidays in January 2023. However, the volumes still went down 13% from the same quarter a year ago, according to figures from the latest report covering China's smartphone market.
In the first quarter of 2023, after the Lunar New Year holidays end, smartphone sales in China are expected to weaken significantly from February to March. Since most consumers in China are still pessimistic about the domestic economy in the first quarter of 2023, China's consumer confidence is unlikely to recover anytime soon; therefore, smartphone brands' combined shipments to the China market are expected to witness a near double-digit on-year decline in the quarter.
Comparing the top-5 China-based brands' fourth-quarter 2022 shipments to the levels seen in the same quarter of 2021, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi had experienced an on-year decline while Huawei and Honor enjoyed growth.
The top-5 smartphone brands in China were Apple, Honor, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi in the fourth quarter of 2022 with Apple rising from fourth place in the prior quarter to the top position and Oppo sliding from the top to third place, the figures show.
The top-5 brands together contributed 91.1% of the smartphone shipments to China in the fourth quarter, higher than the share of 88.5% seen a quarter ago. Looking into first-quarter 2023, with iPhone 14 sales starting to decelerate after hitting the peak in the fourth quarter of 2022, Apple is expected to fall to third place.