China Q2 smartphone sales fall 14.2% y/y as consumers pull back

FILE PHOTO: People look at smartphones in Huawei's first global flagship store in Shenzhen

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone sales in April-June fell 14.2% on year and volumes hit a decade low, Counterpoint Research said on Wednesday, as China struggles to recover from the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns and the industry braces for more uncertainty.

Quarterly sales volumes were 12.6% lower than those seen in the first quarter of 2020, when the pandemic hit China and sales were the worst since the fourth quarter of 2012, when the iPhone 5 was introduced, according to Counterpoint.

The research firm does not give unit sales estimates.

Consumers have tightened their belts and business activity has slowed amid China’s pursuit of its “zero-COVID” strategy to stamp out infections. The commercial hub of Shanghai was locked down in April-May and strict pandemic curbs nationwide continue to weigh on consumer spending.

Sales for the top brands all shrank annually over the quarterly period, with the exception of Honor, which was formally spun out of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in 2021.

Honor’s share of the market surged to 18.3% from 7.7%, making it the second-best selling player, behind vivo. Sales, meanwhile, more than doubled.

“Honor’s coverage in lower-tier cities, which saw fewer lockdowns, helpd the brand steer through the turbulence in Q2 2022,” said Mengmeng Zhang, research analyst at Counterpoint.

Apple Inc ranked as the fourth top-selling brand, with a market share of 15%. The iPhone maker’s quarterly sales volumes dropped 5.8%, a smaller blow compared with Oppo, Xiaomi, and vivo.

The Cupertino-based firm has seen comparatively stable sales in China in the past few years. Earlier this week, however, it announced discounts in China, a move it occasionally makes when sales are slow.

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)