Chinese Smartphone Market Experiences Modest Decline, HONOR Takes the Lead

Mainland China’s smartphone market has witnessed a second consecutive quarter of modest decline, with shipments falling by 5 percent to 66.7 million units during the third quarter of 2023, according to estimates from Canalys.
China smartphone market size Q3 2023
For comparison, Indian smartphone market fell 3 percent during the July-September quarter of 2023.

HONOR, driven by its product and channel competitiveness, has made a remarkable return to the top position with an 18 percent market share and 11.8 million shipments in China.

OPPO, including OnePlus, secured the second spot with 10.9 million shipments.

Apple took the third position with 10.6 million shipments, benefiting from its latest product launches.

Key Highlights from the Smartphone Market:

HONOR’s Resurgence: HONOR’s resurgence to the top position in the market is attributed to its strong product offerings and competitive channels, securing an 18 percent market share.

OPPO’s Strong Presence: OPPO, inclusive of OnePlus, remained a strong player with 10.9 million shipments, taking the second spot.

Apple’s Momentum: Apple claimed the third position with 10.6 million shipments, benefiting from its new product launches that resonated well with consumers.

Vivo’s Cautious Strategy: vivo maintained a cautious shipment strategy and held the fourth position with a 16 percent market share.

Xiaomi’s Momentum: Xiaomi’s popular series continued to maintain its momentum, resulting in a slight increase in market share to 14 percent, securing the fifth spot.

Huawei’s Market Share Gains: Huawei continued to make market share gains, particularly through its high-profile Mate series launches.
Major brands in China smartphone market Q3 2023Canalys Research Analyst Lucas Zhong emphasized the importance of product competitiveness in driving growth. He noted that the launch of the Huawei Mate 60 series ignited the market, and if Huawei extends its new Kirin chipset to its mid-range offerings, it has the potential to disrupt the competitive landscape.

The smartphone market in China has seen ambitious endeavors in the foldable category, with several launches from Android vendors, offering consumers various form factors, specifications, and price ranges.

Canalys Research Manager Amber Liu highlighted the closer collaboration between vendors and channels, which has intensified since 2022. This collaboration ranges from macro-level strategy to day-to-day operations, as vendors and channels work together to enhance operational efficiency and navigate market challenges.

Canalys Senior Analyst Toby Zhu pointed out that the market has reached a bottom in 2023, with vendors investing in channel incentive policies and anticipating a gradual demand recovery. Consumers are still willing to invest in products that offer value for their budget, even amid prolonged replacement cycles. Additionally, Huawei’s expected impact on the competitive landscape in the second half of the year is anticipated to stimulate consumer upgrades and brand switches.

The smartphone market in Mainland China remains dynamic, with vendors adapting to changing consumer preferences and working closely with their channels to drive growth and meet evolving demands.