Chinese consumers are voting with their wallets – and they’re no longer voting for a new iPhone. That’s clear to see from Apple’s latest earnings report, released overnight, which shows Tim Cook’s company pulling in shrinking revenue from the greater China area – mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan – in the first three months of the year.
It proves last year’s dip was no fluke – it’s now a trend of increasingly poor starts for Apple in January to March across China, a time that encompasses a busy shopping season ahead of Chinese New Year.
If we look only at January to March each year – so as to compare, er… apples with apples – we see that Apple is on the decline in the region after the smash-hit iPhone 6, which came out towards the end of 2014.
The iPhone 7, which doesn’t look much different from the iPhone 6 and 6s, has been a big flop.
Here’s the full picture of Apple’s decline in China since the start of 2013, with Japan and the rest of Asia-Pacific seeing, in contrast, gradual growth.
In terms of iPhone sales, Apple dropped slightly from 51.2 million globally in the first three months of 2016 to 50.8 million in the same period this year. And here’s the global view of revenue:
Apple was China’s fourth biggest phone brand in terms of shipments at the last count from IDC, dropping four points in market share from the previous year.
Chinese brands – notably Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo – had contrasting fortunes in their home nations as their increasingly premium designs found favor with shoppers.
While Apple’s situation looks grim right now, there’s still hope. Chinese consumers are spending more and more on their phones each year. Plus, a new iPhone later this year might be capable of wowing shoppers and beating the 2015 highs of the iPhone 6 – which moved away from the rectangular edges of previous years – so long as it has a very different design.
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