Luxury phone market in China: Apple leads, Xiaomi and Huawei challenge

In China's premium smartphone market, Apple maintains its leadership while local brands like Xiaomi and Huawei are making a strong rise.

Luxury phone market in China: Apple leads, Xiaomi and Huawei challenge

The latest survey by Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) for November 2023 has shed light on the current state of the smartphone market in China. The research indicates a significant surge in new smartphone activations, reaching a total of 28.71 million units. This marks a notable year-on-year increase of 12.7 percent, highlighting the robust growth in the Chinese smartphone sector.

In the premium phone market, three brands have emerged as the frontrunners: Xiaomi, Apple, and Huawei. Xiaomi, in particular, has regained its lead among domestic brands, especially in the high-end segment where phones are priced above 4,000 Yuan (~$550). This trio, including Apple and Huawei, now dominates nearly 90 percent of the market share in this category.

Luxury phone market in China: Apple leads, Xiaomi and Huawei challenge

Despite a 21.2 percent year-on-year decline, Apple continues to maintain its lead in the high-end market. Xiaomi, with an 18.3 percent market share, has seen the highest growth rate among Chinese brands, recording a 44.1% year-on-year increase in activations. Honor, securing the third position, has registered a 12.6 percent year-on-year increase in activations. Huawei, while ranking fourth in market share, has shown a remarkable 75.6 percent year-on-year growth in activations, leading the market in terms of growth rate.

The competition in the high-end market has become increasingly fierce, with Apple, Huawei, and Xiaomi collectively holding nearly 90 percent of the market share. Other brands, including Vivo and Oppo, have faced substantial declines in activation volume. This competitive scenario is largely dominated by the top three brands, while the rest of the market shares a modest 10 percent.

BCI's data underscores the resurgence of Xiaomi as the leading domestic brand in China. Its success is attributed to consistent growth in new phone activations, with an impressive year-on-year increase of over 40 percent for five consecutive weeks. This growth is the highest recorded, at 11.8 percent year-on-year. The dynamic nature of the high-end market, influenced by the Huawei Mate 60 series and Xiaomi 14 series, suggests a shifting landscape, impacting Apple's standing in this competitive sector.