A study of 1,000 Chinese consumers indicates that for the first time, local maker Huawei has edged out Apple for being the number one smartphone consumers are preparing to purchase.
This results sounds the latest round of alarms about the iPhone 8 — and indicates just how powerful the players making phones in China, namely Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, have become.
The iPhone 8’s less-than-stellar performance out of the gate has thus far been written off to the fact that it is the opening act for the more feature-filled iPhone X.
But while that explanation works in the U.S. — in China, Apple is having overall performance issues as all new models are underperforming past launches.
The study also found that among those who hope to buy an iPhone at all, 65.1 percent of respondents said they intended to buy an iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X — while 75.7 percent noted they planned on grabbing up a now price-reduced iPhone 7 model. Overall, 24.2 percent of consumers noted an intention to make their next phone an iPhone — down from 25.8 percent at the time of the last iPhone launch.
Huawei, on the other hand, saw 31.4 percent of respondents opting for it as their next phone purchase.
Price, it seems, is driving many of Apple’s issues — local smartphones range in price from $300 – $450, a range that Apple easily doubles. The iPhone X is Apple’s priciest handset yet.
Also, there is concern that Apple has simply missed Chinese customer taste with their latest releases.
“Chinese consumers are particular about having phones that stand out and look different from previous versions. That is something perhaps that’s lacking for the iPhone 8,” said Xiaohan Tay, smartphone analyst at market research firm IDC. Xie Pu, a technology columnist based in Changsha, said: “This [iPhone 8] model doesn’t have that striking quality that makes users’ eyes light up.”
Apple, thus far, has declined to comment.