Canalys Released The 2020 China Smartphone Market Report

Global technology market analysis and market consulting agency Canalys today released a research report on the global smartphone market for the fourth quarter of 2020. The report shows that the smartphone market in mainland China shipped 84 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, a year-on-year decrease of 4%. For the full year of 2020, shipments fell by 11% year-on-year to 330 million units. Due to the rapid deterioration of Huawei’s performance due to US sanctions, the overall market recovery was hindered.

The report shows that in the fourth quarter of 2020, Huawei (including Honor) shipped 18.8 million units. And its market share dropped from 41% in the third quarter of 2020 to 22%. In addition, OPPO quickly rose to second place, shipping 17.2 million smartphones, a year-on-year increase of 23%. Vivo also achieved a good year-on-year growth of 20%, ranking third with 15.7 million units. At the same time, Apple has also achieved the best shipment performance in China in recent years, with shipments exceeding 15.3 million units in the fourth quarter and a market share of 18%. It is higher than the 15% in the fourth quarter of 2019. Xiaomi ranked fifth with 12.2 million units shipped, a year-on-year increase of 52%.


Canalys commented that “Huawei’s shipments in the fourth quarter shrank by nearly 50% year-on-year. Although the demand for Huawei’s products is still huge, Huawei will not be able to meet the demand in the foreseeable future. Other leading manufacturers are targeting this opportunity. OPPO and Vivo are competing with Xiaomi for Huawei’s offline channel resources across the country. Many of them include channel partners in towns and villages. Moreover, they invested huge amounts of money in-store expansion and marketing support. These measures have brought immediate results and market share in just a few months. Active expansion is the keyword for OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi in channel construction in 2021.”


“Apple’s performance in China in 2020 will be significant. Driven by the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models, the annual shipment volume has finally returned to the level of 2018. The shipment volume in the fourth quarter even reached Apple’s number since 2015. Since the release of the iPhone 6S in the fourth quarter, it has the highest shipment record in the Chinese market.” Canalys research analyst Amber Liu said. “The timing of Apple’s launch of the new iPhone 12 in China coincided with the time when Huawei was discontinuing the supply. Huawei is Apple’s only strong competitor in the high-end segment. Thus, its flagship Mate series shipped less than 4 million units in the fourth quarter.

However, Apple has not relaxed the market promotion of iPhone12, including launching online promotion activities on major e-commerce platforms across the country, launching more old-for-new replacement programs, and the most extensive interest-free installment payment on the market in cooperation with major banks. These are all conducive to pushing up the performance of Apple’s new machine shipments.”


“Honor is also a player we should not ignore in China in 2021. The company has almost fully inherited Huawei’s advantages and aims to win Huawei’s loyal customers,” said Nicole Peng. “As 5G becomes a necessary feature of any smartphone on the market, head manufacturers such as OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi will double their investment in their flagship and high-end product lines, focusing on the breadth of the product line and the use of high-end parts. With Huawei’s market share retreat, consumers and channels will face more brand choices, while new or small brands will have more opportunities to stand out. In the next year, the market structure will usher in a long-lost wave Turbulence and adjustment.”

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