China’s Online Smartphone Sales Dwindle in Q1 2019

Smartphones online sales took a nosedive in the first quarter of 2019, according to Counterpoint Research. The share of online sales in the market dropped from 28 percent in the last quarter of 2018 to 24 percent, continuing its slowdown from the second half of 2018, incurred by slack demand and seasonal circumstances like the Chinese New Year, when most factories are closed. There’s also been a year-on-year decline of 8 percent in Q1 2019.

JD.com and Tmall.com continued to be number one and number two online smartphone platforms in China, respectively. Together, the two giants dominated more than 70% of the online smartphone marketplace. However, their market shares declined slightly in Q1 2019 as there were no online e-commerce festivals in this quarter and the offline channel performed stronger during the Chinese New Year season,” noted Mengmeng Zhang, a Research Analyst from Counterpoint Research.

China’s Mobile E-commerce Market Share by Platform – Q1 2019 (Photo: Counterpoint)

Research Director of Counterpoint James Yan added that third-party app platforms like Pinduoduo, Vipshop and Xiaohongshu are also gaining momentum in online smartphone sales. According to Yan, “Along with JD, Tmall, and Suning, these apps have become the official online retailers for new model releases. The importance of these third-party apps cannot be underestimated as an important marketing channel for OEMs due to the large userbase of these apps. In addition, third-party apps can bundle sale smartphones with other products. For example, Vipshop offered a joint sale of Vivo and iQOO with Daniel Wellington bracelets.”

Q1 smartphone OEM share of online Channel (Photo: Counterpoint)

Smartphone brands with the most sales in Q1 2019 include Honor, Xiaomi, Huawei, Apple, Vivo and OPPO. Together they account for 84 percent of the whole market. Honor tops the list with 24 percent, followed by Xiaomi that lags slightly behind with 22 percent.