Data about to be released by IDC shows that the Chinese smartphone market – long viewed as one of the key growth markets for smartphones – is now reaching the saturation point.
The WSJ reports that smartphone shipments fell for the first time in six years, 4.3% down year-on-year in the previous quarter. Other sources say sales are still growing, but at a much-reduced rate.
The slowdown is reportedly being driven by the disappearance of first-time buyers in the Chinese smartphone market. The devices now have a more than 90% penetration in the Chinese market. “China is now a replacement market,” said Tom Kang, research director with market-research firm Counterpoint, explaining that just about everyone in China who wants a smartphone has one.
In spite of this news, Apple may be less affected than other smartphone makers selling in the country, as they will likely continue to benefit as owners of lower and mid-range smartphones upgrade to premium devices.
Kantar reported recently that Apple now sells more iPhones in China than they do in the United States. Apple’s market share in China is reported to be 26%. In the company’s recent earnings call, Apple revealed that revenue in emerging markets was up 58% year-over-year, and Chinese App Store sales doubled in the same time period, while online sales in the country tripled.