Apple is the only non-Chinese smartphone vendor in the top five. The four other companies include OPPO, Huawei, vivo, and Xiaomi. They increased their combined share of the market from 46% to 57% last year.
2016 was the first time ever that Apple saw a YoY decline in the PRC market. Even though the new black colored iPhones caught the attention of consumers, overall, the new launches did not create as much of a frenzy compared to the past. Despite the decline, IDC does not believe Chinese vendors have actually eaten away Apple's market share. Most Apple users are expected to be holding out for the new iPhone that will be launched this year, and that will help the brand to see a growth in 2017. Apple's 10-year anniversary iPhone will also likely attract some of the high-end Android users in China to convert to an iPhone.
Here's what IDC expects to see in China's market in 2017.
• Top vendors will continue to take up a larger share of the market while smaller brands will begin consolidation. 360 stopped launching phones under the Dazen and Qiku brands in 2017, and this will happen for more brands in 2017.
• Chinese vendors will continue to focus on their international expansion plans. At present, out of the top three Chinese vendors in China, Huawei is the most successful with half of its shipments coming from markets outside China in 2016Q4. We expect these vendors to increase their shipments in the international market, with India as a key target for these top Chinese vendors.
• Chinese vendors are starting to launch phones with dual cameras and curved screens. We expect that to be the norm for most flagships in 2017. Cameras will continue to be a key focus in the marketing messages by vendors especially given the strong selfie culture in China, as exemplified by the popularity of apps such as Meitu.
• Similarly, Chinese vendors will be aggressive with other new technologies such as flexible screens, augmented reality, and other new areas. In the past year, vendors such as Huawei, Xiaomi, and LeEco developed phones with dual cameras, thin bezels, and digital headphone connectors well before many overseas vendors did. Bold experimentation is likely, even if such technologies might not immediately lead to higher shipments.