Apple is struggling to sell its latest range of smartphones as consumer demand for iPhones continues to plummet in China, according to analysts.
Shawn Harrison, of asset management firm Longbow Research, says research into trends on China’s popular search engine Baidu shows that the US company’s position in the Asian market is going “from bad to worse”, Bloomberg reports.
In fact, enquiries about iPhones on Baidu fell by 47% in February compared with the same period last year. “Multiple iPhone price cuts did not stop China iPhone search trends from weakening,” Harrison said.
Although the February figure is an improvement on the 50% year-on-year drop recorded in January, it is clear that the iPhone XS and XR are “still not catching fire with Chinese customers”, says Apple news site 9to5Mac.
Sluggish sales in China are “by no means a new” problem for the tech giant, the Daily Mail notes.
Apple’s first-quarter earnings results for the fiscal year, published at the end of January, revealed that revenue in the Greater China region fell by 26% year-on-year, with sales in the region totalling $13.17bn (£10.03bn).
Should Apple be worried?
Possibly. Apple is still one of the biggest smartphone providers in the world. Only Samsung and Chinese tech giant Huawei sell more devices globally than the California-based company.
But Apple’s top-tier smartphones are proving to be no match for the cheaper mid-range handsets offered by China’s major tech firms.
Neil Shah, research director at market analysis firm Counterpoint Research, told US news site CNBC that “the China market has become a zero sum game, with replacement rates becoming slower in the premium end of the market, and most folks are not upgrading their expensive and durable smartphones”.
“Most of the growth is coming from mid-tier of the market where Huawei’s Honor brand, Nova series, and Oppo’s A series is doing quite well,” he added.