The smartphone market in China in the first quarter of 2022 continued to perform poorly compared to the global market, with shipments falling 18% year-on-year and 13% consecutively to 75.6 million units.
Although this is a sharp decline, it represents a correction of the market for typical seasonal trends after the abnormal first quarter of 2021. HONOR reached its peak for the first time, delivering 15 million devices with a huge growth of 205%. OPPO (including OnePlus) remained in second place with 13.9 million copies delivered as it continued its transition. Apple remained among the top three after a strong Q4 last year. Vivo and Xiaomi finished the top five, delivering 12.2 million and 10.6 million units, respectively.
“The market correction is no surprise after a weak Q4 last year,” said Canalys analyst Amber Liu.
– There is usually a successive decline in demand and production in the first quarter, although the Chinese smartphone market has been recording poor results for almost three years. Competition among the top five suppliers has been extremely uncertain as Huawei has been disappearing in recent quarters. While most of the leading vendors mitigated new launches in the first quarter, HONOR sequentially rose 6%. Its new 60 and X30 series has contributed to its solid performance as it has continued to grow in offline channels – it is said.
– The outbreak of the Omikron COVID-19 variant and severe blockades in major cities since February have cast a shadow over the consumer market, which has yet to recover from last year’s weakness. In response to sudden retail closures and delays in logistics, suppliers must adopt a more cautious approach to stock allocation, which will inevitably affect sales in the short term, said Canalys analyst Toby Zhu.
– Growing macroeconomic uncertainties affected by domestic and foreign demand will further harm the labor market and consumer confidence, particularly affecting the low-cost segment. Domestic players have no choice but to continue to increase their investments in the middle to upper class market this year in order to protect themselves from the risk of slowing down the sale of devices on the mass market – he states.
“Suppliers should be careful in reducing their resources and investments in Chinese markets due to business uncertainties and ongoing disruptions,” Zhu added.
– It is a perfect time for suppliers to shift the focus to improving product attractiveness, channel development programs and customer loyalty as supply pressures ease. Meanwhile, the success of suppliers in the Chinese market is key to maintaining confidence in the supply chain and, more importantly, the allocation of capacity to the suppliers themselves as well as to the overall smartphone category. As China is home to most technology supply chains, the overly pessimistic mood in the market will take component suppliers from smartphones to other more profitable categories. The last thing suppliers want to deal with is another wave of component shortages, while demand recovers in the second half of 2022 or early 2023, he said.