27 Jan 2022
China's Smartphone Market Grew 1.1% in 2021 Despite Soft Demand and Supply Chain Disruptions, IDC Reports
SINGAPORE, January 28, 2022 – According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 329.3 million smartphones shipped in China in 2021, with a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 1.1%. In 4Q21, the market declined 3.5% YoY to 83.4 million shipments, which were mainly supported by the launch of key products in December.
In 2021, the Chinese smartphone market experienced an L-shaped growth, with 1Q21 growing amid better COVID containment and stimulus programs, followed by declines in the following quarters given the challenges of supply shortages and lower-than-expected demand for mid-range and high-end products.
China Smartphone Market, Top 5 Company Shipments, Market Share, and YoY Growth, Q4 2021 (shipments in millions)
2021Q4 Market Share
2020Q4 Market Share
Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 2021Q4
China Smartphone Market, Top 5 Company Shipments, Market Share, and YoY Growth, 2021 (shipments in millions)
2021 Market Share
2020 Market Share
Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 2021Q4
“Apple and vivo took the top spot in 4Q21 and 2021, respectively. Honor continued its momentum in 4Q21 and gained another spot from the previous quarter,” said Will Wong, Research Manager for Client Devices at IDC Asia/Pacific. Will adds, “More intense competition is coming in 2022 as no vendors are likely to give up their crown in a lucrative market.”
Top 5 Smartphone Company Highlights:
• Apple saw a favorable response to its iPhone 13 series, as the product was not only supported by a competitive pricing strategy and the decline of Huawei, but also by good supply chain management and better channel penetration. In 2021, Apple reached more than 50 million shipments after reaching the mark in 2015 and it also had the largest growth among the top 5 vendors.
• Honor continued its growth in 4Q21 with the launch of the Honor 60 series and X30 series in December. The vendor’s focus on its mid-range and high-end products supported its 2H21 performance, while its volume-driver product, the Honor 50 series, helped to strengthen its position in the US$400-550 segment.
• vivo ranked No. 1 in full-year 2021 with its well-rounded product portfolio. vivo’s X series and its sub-brand, iQOO, achieved favorable growth in the year. This, in turn, helped the vendor to achieve a better market position in the >US$400 market and online channels.
• OPPO grabbed the second spot in 2021, with the K, Reno, and Find series achieving a higher share of its portfolio compared to last year. In 4Q21, the launch of the Reno 7 series also strengthened OPPO’s position in the US$300-500 price band in the offline channel.
• Xiaomi’s new products, the Note 11 series and Mi 12 series, drove the vendor’s performance in 4Q21, especially in the last month of the year. Furthermore, Xiaomi’s Redmi 9 series and K40 series played a key role in supporting its full-year shipments and helped the vendor to rank No. 3 in 2021.
In 2021, the Chinese market shipped 1.5 million foldable smartphones, but it remained a niche market with only 0.5% share. Nevertheless, several drivers continued to make it the focus of the market:
1. The new form factor allowed Chinese vendors to build a high-end image and differentiated themselves from Apple’s products.
2. Better-than-expected demand for competitively priced foldables helped to sustain the awareness of potential buyers.
3. Improvements in the software and hardware provided a more favorable experience and value of the use cases.
“Although the Chinese market grew slightly in 2021, there are still no signs of improvement in terms of consumer demand in the short term,” said Xi Wang, Research Manager for Client System Research at IDC China. Xi adds, “Thus, challenges will remain in 2022, underscoring the importance of enhancing product technology and offline channel operations.”
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International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDCAP and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.
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