According to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Chinese smartphone shipments grew 6,5% year over year (YoY) to 69,3-million units in 1Q24.

Although the growth was supported by a low comparison base year, it marks the second consecutive quarter of growth adding momentum to the market recovery.

The market saw better-than-expected shipments mainly driven by strong growth from Honor and Huawei, which also spurred a 9,3% YoY growth in the overall Android market. On the other hand, Apple declined 6,6% over the same period as it faced more intense competition.

The Lunar New Year in the first quarter of 2024 also stimulated shopping sentiment and the demand for low- to mid-range devices.

In the high-end segment, the AI buzz and the foldable products allowed the Android smartphone vendors to further differentiate themselves from Apple and garnered increased interest from Chinese consumers.

“Honor climbed to the top spot, thanks to its well-rounded product portfolio and the Magic 6 series which came with popular AI features,” says Arthur Guo, senior research analyst in Client System Research for IDC China. “Meanwhile, Huawei made a strong comeback and achieved a tie with Honor, though supply constraints will still be a pain point. Apple’s price promotions in the quarter were unable to mitigate the impact of the intense competition from Android players.”

Will Wong, senior research manager for Client Devices at IDC Asia/Pacific, says: “The close race among the top-tier players implies that Chinese consumers are more likely to change from one brand to another. Thus, there’s an increased need for action from the vendors to keep innovating to ensure strong customer stickiness.”