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Apple Cut iPhone Prices in China, but Consumers Didn’t Bite

Apple store n China

Apple’s troubles in China continue, with iPhone sales reportedly plummeting 19% during the last quarter.

That brought the company’s flagship product to its worst performance since the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020, Bloomberg news reported Tuesday (April 23), citing data from Counterpoint Research.

Apple dropped to third place in the market, that report said, putting it more or less on par with rival Huawei, which saw sales climb nearly 70%.

Bloomberg notes that the iPhone’s weakness is “remarkable” considering that Chinese consumers tend to spend more during the Lunar New year, which fell during the first quarter.

This news follows a report last week from IDC that showed a nearly 10% decline in global iPhone shipments for the same period.

“The smartphone market is emerging from the turbulence of the last two years both stronger and changed,” Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team, said in a news release.

“Firstly, we continue to see growth in value and average selling prices (ASPs) as consumers opt for more expensive devices knowing they will hold onto their devices longer. Secondly, there is a shift in power among the Top 5 companies, which will likely continue as market players adjust their strategies in a post-recovery world.”

Apple has tried to ease its troubles in China by lowering prices. February brought news that resellers in China were offering big price reductions on the latest installment of the iPhone, which came on the market last September but hasn’t sold as well as previous versions, due partially to economic pressures and competition from Huawei.

The tech giant has had to contend with other issues, such as a ban on iPhone use by state workers and employees of government-owned companies.

Meanwhile, Apple has its iPhone 16 waiting in the wings, with a report last week arguing that the company could use that launch to introduce new artificial intelligence (AI) features, rather than at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

“We expect most AI features to be unveiled with the iPhone in September, as opposed to at WWDC, consistent with other key software features like Dynamic Island, Siri, and Facetime, all of which were introduced at the time of phone launch,” analysts for European bank Bernstein Société Générale wrote in a recent note.