IDC: Apple sees first year-over-year decline in China’s smartphone market

According to the latest IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker from the IDC research group, the smartphone market in China saw 19% year-over-year (YoY) growth and 17% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ)_ growth in the fourth quarter of 2016. It was the first time that Apple has seen a YoY decline in the People’s Republic of China market.

For the full year of 2016, the market grew by 9% with top Chinese smartphone vendors taking up a larger share of the market, according to IDC. The four Chinese vendors in the top five were the same in 2015, and their share grew from 46% in 2015 to 57% in 2016, according to the research group.

Even though the new black colored iPhones caught the attention of consumers, overall, the new launches did not create as much of a frenzy compared to the past for Apple, says Tay X iaohan, senior market analyst with IDC Asia/Pacific's Client Devices team. Despite the decline, IDC doesn’t believe Chinese vendors have actually eaten away Apple's market share. 

Most Apple users are expected to be holding out for the new iPhone that will be launched this year, and that will help the brand to see a growth in 2017. Apple's 10-year anniversary iPhone will also likely attract some of the high-end Android users in China to convert to an iPhone, says IDC. Apple has also been aggressive in increasing its offline retail presence.