Apple has taken a bite out of China.
According to consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, sales of Apple smartphones in urban China reached an all-time high during the three-month period ending in February 2015, claiming 27.6 percent of the market.
“There has been a strong appetite for Apple’s products in urban China seen since the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and this has continued into Chinese New Year,” said Carolina Milanesi, Kantar’s chief of research. “China Mobile’s subscribers accounted for 59 percent of the 27.6 percent volume share recorded by iOS in the latest period. Across key global markets Apple’s momentum generally continued from last month, with market share gains in all markets except the U.S. and Japan.”
The Apple iPhone 6 was the best-selling smartphone throughout urban China during the aforementioned time frame, expanding its market share from 9.5 percent during the three months ending in January to 10.2 percent for the period ending in February. With the iPhone 6 Plus being China’s third-best selling smartphone for the time period, Apple was able to squeeze Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi (whose top-selling phone is the RedMI Note) into the No. 2 position overall.
Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia, noted that, in addition to Apple’s two current flagship smartphones, even its older models are “still selling strong” in China.
Kantar’s research showed that Apple even made some headway in Europe, with its share across that continent increasing by 2.9 percent over the previous year.
Apple’s share of smartphone sales in China just a month earlier, also according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, was 25.4 percent, which represented the highest sales share Apple had achieved in China up to that point. The upward leap had represented a 4.5 percentage point increase over the same period in 2014. At the time, Xiaomi had boasted a 2.2 percent point advantage over Apple.
Now, it appears the tables have turned, but only time and the choices of China’s consumers will ultimately determine which competitor will win this tug-of-war.