China Smartphones and iPhone Sales

China’s smartphone sales declined for 10 consecutive weeks since the 6th week of 2022 when compared to the same period in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research. Weakened consumer sentiment caused by the Chinese government’s “dynamic zero-Covid” policy was one of the main drivers for this decline. It is now evident that consumer sentiment becomes weak every time strong COVID-19 quarantine measures are taken. Major Chinese smartphone brands, except Honor, failed to avoid the impact and their sales declined YoY. Huawei and OPPO showed more sales drop than market average for 15 weeks. Meanwhile, Xiaomi momentarily exceeded the previous year’s sales due to the launch of the Redmi K40s and Redmi K50 series, but this rebound did not last long. Apple’s sales volume increased YoY until the 10th week, but even iPhone sales started to decrease as iPhone 13 series sales declined. (Counterpoint Research)

After claiming a record 177 spots on the list in 2021, the number of technology companies landing on the Global 2000, Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s largest companies, slipped to 164 in 2022, but the overall decline did not prevent total sales from skyrocketing. The firms posted a record USD4T in combined annual revenue over the last 12 months, up from about USD3.3T in 2021 — even with fewer firms. Apple heads up the technology ranks for the seventh-straight year thanks in part to record sales of USD378.7B, up nearly 29% from one year earlier. Supply-chain woes have been particularly bad for Samsung Electronics, which slipped 3 spots in the global rankings to become the world’s fourth-largest tech company, down from second in 2021 — and Covid lockdowns in China (where the firm operates a semiconductor factory) have only added to the pain. Though it posted record sales of USD244B, the South Korea-based firm has endured a steady stock plunge over the past year, pushing its market value down nearly 30% to USD367.3B. (Android Headlines, Forbes, Forbes)

China’s leading smartphone makers have allegedly told suppliers to scale back orders for the coming quarters by around 20% from previous plans following monthlong COVID lockdowns that have severely disrupted supply chains and battered consumer confidence. Xiaomi has told suppliers that it will lower its full-year forecast to around 160M-180M units from its previous target of 200M. OPPO and vivo have also reduced orders for 1Q22 and the next by about 20% in an attempt to digest excessive inventories currently filling retail channels. vivo has even alerted some suppliers that it will not update specifications for some key components going into some midrange smartphone models in 2022, citing efforts to reduce costs amid inflation concerns and dwindling demand. Samsung, on the other hand, hopes to ship more than 270M units in 2022, which would be a slight growth from 2021. (Asia Nikkei, press)

According to Wedbush’s analyst Dan Ives, Apple’s iPhone demand is “better than expected” for 2Q22, and its supply chain is proving “surprisingly resilient”. Ives notes that Apple’s iPhone demand is “trending better” than guidance in the quarter so far. He also put to rest some concerns about the supply chain. As Ives notes, Apple’s supply chain is under pressure in mainland China because of strict zero-COVID measures implemented by the government. Some factories have had to suspend operations, with others operating at limited capacity or keeping employees in “closed-loop” environments to prevent the spread of the disease. (Seeking Alpha, CN Beta, iMore, Business Insider, Twitter)