The iPhone X’s release sent waves across the world as early as months back, soon after the news got out. Its new features became the topic of conversation, as did it exorbitant price range. These waves of excitement also hit China, which happens to be the world’s largest smartphone market. Reports indeed show that the buzz for the iPhone X in China was at an all-time high before its release, and continues to be so. This should be good news for Apple, but it’s not. The iPhone X is not having the best time in China as yet.
Apple is looking to improve its sales in China after six consecutive quarters of declining sales from its mobile devices and across its range of products. The iPhone 8, which was released just weeks earlier than the iPhone X promised a surge in sales, but the change in fortune is still unlikely to continue.
Some analysts predicted that the iPhone X was likely to fuel an even sharper surge in sales for Apple, but reports from recent consumer data don’t support the theory. Pre-orders were reported to go through the roof on the release date, but they only represent a small percentage of would-be buyers in general.
Resellers and major retailers agree that there is a great deal of excitement around the smartphone, but it’s only really translating to huge dales as expected.
So what’s the problem?
The major obstacle to the iPhone’s success is its price. With a starting price of 8388 Yuan (about $1263), and with some retailers pricing it as high as $1500, the iPhone X flies way above many people’s monthly incomes. It’s unusually and decidedly expensive, even for those that could afford it easily.
Some iPhone buyers are sticking to their older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, saying they don’t see much of a change in the new iPhones that would warrant a new purchase or the huge price. By release date, most of the people fumbling to make pre-orders for the iPhone X were either iPhone enthusiasts or diehard fans, most of whom make sure to snap up each new release.
There’s stiff competition too, from major local phone manufacturers including Lenovo, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei. Despite not being major competitors to the iPhone as individual brands, they still draw away a large number of would-be customers with their budget phones and considerable phone features.
Most competitor phones are currently having models up for sale at prices up to $500 lower than the iPhone X. Local brands are also pulling in millennials with their celebrity peppered adverts and intense marketing strategies.
The biggest threat from local competitors, though, is their latest releases, most of which match the iPhone X in quality and design. Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 2 is one such example. Quickly dubbed the ‘iPhone Killer’, the Mi Mix 2 was released a day before the iPhone 8’s release. It’s hundreds of dollars lower than both the iPhone 8 and X and features the company’s new signature edge to edge display design. Xiaomi is currently one of Apple’s major competitors in China, having outranked it in sales during this year’s second quarter.
Local phone makers also count on one huge advantage over the iPhone X: their phones use Chinese. That’s one other hurdle that the already suffering Apple has to jump, its significance echoed by the fact that Chinese is still preferred as the language of communication countrywide.
There are lots of factors still playing in Apple’s favour though. In addition to the ever-growing buzz around the product and it features, the iPhone brand still has a really strong fan base in China, starting with the hundreds of so-called Apple geeks. The iPhone X also boasts the newest technology among phone manufacturers, which is one way to draw in customers like the Chinese, who’ve been known to favour a product with a difference. Apple and the iPhone brand are still the frontrunners in the high-end phone market, with a sizeable 80% of market share in the region. One thing’s still clear for sure: that China still loves Apple and its products. And that can only be a good thing.