That means Apple was left with just 9.2% of the 104.1 million smartphones sold (shipped) in the Chinese market in Q1, 2017, experiencing a 26.7% drop year-on-year.
The first quarter is an atypical one where unsold inventory left over from Q4 sales has an impact on shipments.
Based on this quarter smartphone sales only grew 1% y-o-y. Few new models are released and Samsung’s GS8 unboxing was in Q2.
On a straight numbers basis, Huawei was in pole position with 20.8 million phones (20%) and its market share was up 25.5% y-o-y. OPPO was second at 18.9 million (18.2%) up 19.5% y-o-y while vivo was number three at 14.6 million phones (up 7.6% y-o-y).
OPPO and vivo are both owned by BBK, and OPPO has pursued a global strategy establishing footholds in Europe, EMEA, and Australia. It will be opening more stores in Chinese tier one and two cities while sibling vivo already has an established home market and is now looking to go off-shore.
A few models dominated sales. OPPO’s R9s and Plus refresh, vivo X9 (not seen in Australia) and Huawei’s Honor 8 (not seen in Australia) — all mid-range phones loaded with features — were the top three models with the R9s/Plus comprising close to half of all the OPPO phones sold there.
"Apple has been seeing double-digit y-o-y declines for the fifth quarter in a row, but we believe that Chinese consumers are holding out for the launch of Apple's 10-year anniversary iPhone at the end of the year, and this will help Apple to see a rebound in the China smartphone market," IDC’s Tay said.