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Apple Becomes No. 1 Phone Brand in China for First Time in 6 Years

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Apple ranked no. 1 for smartphone sales in China during October 2021 — reports Patently Apple, citing data from market analytics firm Counterpoint Research.

Image: Patently Apple, data from Counterpoint Research

Following Huawei’s fall from the top that began last year, the Chinese smartphone market has been ripe for the taking. The top spot constantly changed hands between local OEMs Vivo and Oppo throughout the year, before Apple finally grabbed it in October.

The last time Apple occupied the #1 spot in China was back in December 2015, when the company’s flagship device for the year was the iPhone 6S (which is still getting firmware updates, by the way).

According to Counterpoint Research analyst Varun Mishra, iPhone sales in the region skyrocketed following the launch of Apple’s iPhone 13 series, which actually launched at lower prices than last year’s iPhone 12 lineup.

Apple’s sales for October grew 46% month-over-month, while China’s smartphone market as a whole only grew 2% and all other major brands saw their sales go down during the same time.

The iPhone maker’s massive rally in the region came despite wait times of around a month for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, along with many consumers delaying their purchases in anticipation of Singles’ Day sales in November.

“Due to supply issues, the normal wait time for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max ranges between four and five weeks in China. Some Chinese customers choose to pay premiums to get the new phones delivered immediately. Overall, the China market has been slow throughout the year and Apple’s growth is a positive sign,” said Mishra, who is a Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research.

Counterpoint Research Director Tarun Pathak lauded Apple’s management of its supply chain, which has allowed the Cupertino, California, based tech giant to capitalize in the Chinese market while competitors struggle to maintain inventory.

“Apple, with its strong brand equity, is gaining the maximum from the gap left by Huawei in the premium segment. Apple could have gained more if it were not for the shortages, especially for the Pro versions. But still, Apple is managing its supply chain better than other OEMs.”

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