Smartphone shipments to China peaked in 4Q23 and dropped in 1Q24, says DIGITIMES Research

Luke Lin, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0


China's smartphone shipments totaled 78.2 million units in the fourth quarter of 2023, increasing 23.5% sequentially and 10.5% annually and accounting for 23.9% of global smartphone shipments, higher than the share of 23.1% a year earlier, according to DIGITIMES Research's latest figures from its China smartphone market report.

Most brand vendors actively built up their inventories in the fourth quarter to meet the needs of the Singles' Day shopping festival.

In response to Huawei's return to the 5G smartphone market, other Chinese brands aggressively ramped up shipments to the channels to preempt sales, resulting in a more significant shipment growth in China than in different markets worldwide in the fourth quarter.

Over 80% of the smartphones shipped to the Chinese market per month in the fourth quarter of 2023 were 5G models. However, the report indicated it was challenging to drive replacement demand among consumers relying solely on the 5G specifications.

The specifications and features of mid-range and entry-level 5G smartphones have become attractive to consumers due to their attraction of high quality and low prices.

An accelerated relocation of the supply chains of the export industries to overseas markets and some specific sectors placed under the policy constraints in China have yet to restore their vitality, resulting in high unemployment rates among the younger population and migrant workers in China.

For the first quarter of 2024, smartphones shipped to China will likely decrease by 18.2% quarter-on-quarter to 64 million units.

Although the Lunar New Year holidays will help boost sales in February, most brand vendors will likely restrain their shipments in the first quarter to avoid excessive inventory buildups in the channels following overly aggressive shipments in the previous quarter.