On January 15th, the topic of “Rare Price Drop on Apple‘s Official Website” surged to the top of Weibo’s trending list.
According to the activity preview on Apple China’s official website, the “New Year Limited Time Offer” will be available from January 18th to 21st.
Apple introduces that during the event, using eligible payment methods to purchase specified products can save up to 800 yuan. Among them, iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus or iPhone 13 can save up to a maximum of 500 yuan. The MacBook Air (M2 chip model) with a screen size of either 13 inches or 15 inches and the MacBook Air (M1 chip model) with a screen size of 13 inches can save up to a maximum of 800 yuan.
Buy iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad (10th generation), or iPad mini with eligible payment methods and save up to 400 yuan. Save 200 yuan on Apple Watch SE.
Regarding this, some netizens expressed, “People who have already bought it don’t want to see a price drop”, “It’s really frustrating for those who just bought it a week ago”, “I still prefer its rebellious appearance.” Some netizens also believe that “500 is considered a price reduction? Only when it’s discounted by 70% can it be called a price reduction” and “Not buying saves you 5,000 yuan.”
According to Apple’s previous sales style, the new iPhone series usually only sees price reductions after the Spring Festival or during the 618 shopping festival in the following year. Even discounts are mostly available on third-party platforms, while official website prices remain firm. Therefore, it is rare for Apple to directly announce a price reduction on their official website this time.
It is worth noting that as Apple’s flagship models this year, the iPhone 15 series is not the first to announce a price reduction. During the Double Eleven period in 2023, the official flagship store of Taobao offered discounts of up to 700 yuan for iPhone 15 and 15 Plus models, and discounts of 500 yuan for 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max models, which exceeded previous years’ discounts.
Previously, analysts from Jefferies, a Wall Street investment bank, stated in a report that during the first week of 2024, sales of Apple’s iPhone in China dropped by 30%.
The report indicates that although the new models of Apple’s iPhone 15 series have been discounted on multiple e-commerce platforms, their sales are still declining significantly. Among them, on the Pinduoduo platform, this series has seen a price reduction of up to 16%. Jefferies analysts believe that in the Chinese market, Apple’s year-on-year decline in 2023 is 3%, which is equivalent to a decrease of 0.4% in Apple’s market share.
From the market share rankings in recent months, although Apple still ranks at the top, both its market share and sales volume have decreased compared to the same period last year.
On one hand, Apple’s market share is declining, while on the other hand, Chinese smartphone brands are competing for a share of Apple’s high-end market.
According to data from market research firm BCI, in November last year, Apple remained the top player in the high-end smartphone market with a market share of over half among devices priced above 4000 yuan. Huawei ranked second with a 22.3% share, while Xiaomi held the third position with 14.4%. However, Apple experienced a year-on-year decline of 21.2%, while Huawei and Xiaomi saw increases of 8.8% and 11.8% respectively.
According to IDC, based on the data from the Chinese smartphone market in the third quarter of 2023, despite the release of the new iPhone 15 series during the same period last year, market response was lower than expected. Apple’s market share in the third quarter was 16.0%, a decrease of 4.0% compared to the previous year, ranking it third.
On January 12th, local time, investment research firm Hedgeye announced that it has identified Apple as its latest short-selling target. Hedgeye predicts that due to weak iPhone sales, lack of innovation, and intensified competition in the personal computer (PC) market with Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) features, Apple’s revenue growth will remain dim until 2025. Hedgeye also forecasts a sharp decline of 30% in Apple’s stock price compared to its current level.
In contrast, other foreign brand market shares have shown varying degrees of year-on-year growth. This also means that in the high-end smartphone market in China, Apple’s users are shifting towards domestic smartphone brands.
The industry viewpoint indicates that Apple still heavily relies on the hardware sales of iPhone products, and in important markets such as China, the market share of iPhone continues to decline. This has raised concerns among market observers that Apple no longer possesses a near-monopoly advantage like it did during its heyday.
More importantly, when competitors are launching their AI-powered large-scale models one after another, it seems that iPhone has fallen behind in terms of AI. According to public information, Apple is expected to announce iOS 18 at the developer conference in June this year at the earliest. Only then will the system undergo an AI upgrade.
In addition, as the global smartphone replacement cycle continues to lengthen, users are upgrading their phones at a slower pace, intensifying the already fierce market competition. Consumers now need a phone that can last longer rather than one that needs to be replaced more frequently.