iPhone Sales in China Plunged 20 Percent Last Quarter: IDC

As expected, Apple’s iPhone shipment numbers in China collapsed last quarter.

According to the latest figures from research firm IDC published Monday, Apple’s iPhone shipments fell 19.9 percent during the fourth quarter in China, while Huawei racked up a 23 percent gain in shipments in the fourth quarter against a 9.7 percent slump in industry shipments.

This was reflected in Apple’s earnings release last month, when it said it booked $13 billion USD in revenue from China during the quarter, down 27 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Overall, Apple said iPhone revenue fell 15 percent.

Apple’s latest iPhone models, which are mostly priced above US$1,000, face a tough challenge from Chinese-brand devices that cost about half or a third less.

“The imbalance between the increasingly severe domestic market environment and Apple’s high product unit price has led to the declines of iPhone shipments in Chinese market,” IDC said in the Chinese-language research report shared on its official WeChat account.

However, it’s worth noting that Xiaomi actually fared much worse than Apple. According to IDC, that company saw its smartphone shipments decline 34.9 percent in the fourth quarter

Apple revised its guidance ahead of that report in early January, when it said a weakening economy in China and the strength of the U.S. dollar were to blame for weaker-than-expected iPhone revenue.

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “more than 100 percent” of its missed revenue could be attributed to a sales decline in China, as demand for its iPhone and iPad products weakened and fewer customers chose to upgrade their smartphones.

Cook placed the blame on “both macroeconomic and Apple-specific factors,” and said that the iPhone maker failed to “foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration” in emerging markets.