Mobile Phone Shipments Down 11% Year-on-Year in Q2: Huawei Misses Top Five While Honor Squeezes In

Market research company IDC released a report on China’s mobile phone market in quarter two of 2021 on Wednesday. According to the findings, Vivo ranked first in the country and Honor earned its way back into the top five.

The report shows that during this period Chinese smartphone firms shipped about 78.1 million units, down 11.0% year-on-year. In the first half of 2021, the domestic market shipped 164 million units, up 6.5% year-on-year.

Regarding manufacturers, Vivo ranked top in terms of shipments, with 18.6 million units and a market share of 23.8%; OPPO shipped 16.5 million units, ranking second with a market share of 21.1%; Xiaomi ranked third, with shipments of 13.04 million units and a market share of 17.2%; Apple ranked fourth, with shipments of 8.6 million units, occupying 10.9% of the market; finally, Honor took the final slot among the top five after becoming an independent firm, with shipments of 6.9 million units and occupying an 8.9% of market share.

These five brands collectively occupy 64% of the Chinese market, while the once powerful Huawei missed out on a top five ranking.

IDC suggests that judging by market structure, the top four out of these five manufacturers achieved more significant progress than last year, but their growth failed to make up for the sharp decline of other manufacturers, including Huawei, in the overall market. This reflects the accelerating decline in the attractiveness of products whose hardware and features are progressively homogenized, and also shows that brand appeal and social relevance attributes are steadily gaining importance in the smartphone industry, which has long been centered on so-called “just-in-time” products.

The driving force for market growth in the first half of the year came from the better market environment in the first quarter compared with the same period last year. However, with the absence of eye-catching products, firms have been unable to stimulate demand for most consumers, thereby bringing down market attention. After the Spring Festival peak, the terminal flow rate remained lower than expected, and many head manufacturers had to slow down their delivery pace during the second quarter.

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IDC China research manager Wang Xi thinks, objectively speaking, many models available on the market this year are less innovative and upgraded in configuration and function, yet many Android manufacturers keep accelerating their entry into the high-end market. Therefore, competition in the Chinese market in the short term – especially in middle and high-end markets – is still a competition over products, but even more a competition over brand image.