China’s cooling on the iPhone

A set of iPhone SE handsets are seen on display during a media event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California on March 21, 2016.  The new iPhone SE will debut at $399 for US customers without a contract subsidy, a significant cut from the price of its larger iPhones. / AFP / Josh Edelson


New data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that for the first time in almost two years well-heeled Chinese consumers are looking beyond Apple for a premium phone or phablet.
“For the first time since August 2014, iOS share did not grow in urban China in the three months ending February,” said Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia.
“iOS declined 3.2 percentage points between February 2015 and February 2016.”
This blip in China isn’t unique or down solely to Android handset makers’ ability to promote their devices better as gifts for the Chinese New Year.
Kantar figures, based on a combination of interviews with a global panel of consumers and data from other sources, shows that the Chinese are not alone in moving away from Apple. In the US, and across four of Europe’s five biggest markets — the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain — the iPhone also slipped while Android climbed. In fact only Italian, Japanese and Australian consumers bought more iOS devices than in the previous quarter.
One reason, the company suggests for this slip is that the current lineup of iPhone handsets isn’t in tune with consumers’ disposable income or with the amount of money they’re prepared to invest on a new device.
“In the US, the average spend on purchasing a smartphone in the three months ending February was US$352,” said Lauren Guenveur, mobile analyst for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
That budget enabled 69 percent of consumers who opted for Android to save money but only 39 percent of those who bought an iPhone in the US over the same period managed to get a handset for that average price.
“This represents a unique opportunity for the newly launched iPhone SE, which, at a US$399 price point, will likely appeal to more cost-conscious first-time smartphone buyers who might otherwise be more inclined to pick up an Android smartphone, and to the sizable installed base of iPhone owners who have not yet upgraded,” Guenveur added.
Away from the Android/iOS duopoly, this quarter’s figures also show that Window Phone is still on a downward trajectory, losing market share in six of the eight countries monitored in the report.
Only in Japan bucked the trend entirely with the handsets seeing a 0.2 percent increase in market share.

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