For the first time, China has dethroned the United States as the largest iPhone market globally, according to a report by market research firm TechInsights (via The Elec). The data reveals that in Q2 2023, 24% of all iPhone shipments were directed to China, compared to the U.S., which accounted for 21%.
TechInsights points to several reasons for this shift. First, the United States experienced a lag in smartphone market growth during the quarter, attributed largely to consumers postponing new phone purchases in anticipation of upcoming iPhone releases in the latter half of the year. On the flip side, China’s position was boosted by its growing economic prowess, a rising middle class, and a general preference among Chinese consumers for premium smartphones.
The penchant for larger devices among Asian consumers could also be a contributing factor. A separate study by Omdia’s Smartphone Model Market Tracker reveals that the iPhone 14 Pro Max was the highest-selling phone globally in the January-to-June period of 2023, with 26.5 million units shipped. In contrast, the iPhone 14 Pro secured second place with 21 million units shipped. Interestingly, no Chinese-branded smartphones made it into the top 10, due to a decline in the mid- to low-end smartphone market.
These trends indicate a shift in consumer preferences toward higher-end devices. Last year, the iPhone 13 led sales, reflecting an earlier inclination for entry-level models. This changing landscape is likely to influence Apple’s strategy for its upcoming iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro lineup. The company is expected to introduce a new, more potent A17 processor exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro, while also reserving periscope zoom lens technology for the high-end iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Both moves aim to further differentiate the higher-tier models in an evolving market.