Sales of Apple's iPhone line fell by astonishing 20 percent in the most recent quarter, while Huawei's sales rose 23 percent over the same period.
The news is interesting on a number of fronts. But my key take-away is this: the IDC report shows that Apple only blames China for the decline in iPhone sales is a smokescreen: its sales in China were only slightly worse than those around the world.
Apple provides no more sales figures, but the company announced in January that its quarterly revenue from the iPhone had plummeted by 15% year after year. This does not mean that sales of iPhone units have decreased by 15%, however: Apple has increased prices across the board in 2018 in order to maintain its margins and the average selling price of the iPhone has increased. So I estimated that Apple sold about 63 million iPhones that quarter, down 18 percent.
Sales of Apple iPhones have fallen 20 percent in China. It is worse than the world number, but not much worse. This means that Apple has over-emphasized China, an easy goal here in the US these days, in its warning on iPhone sales, both before and during the announcement of earnings.
However, there are other interesting data in the IDC report.
As noted, Huawei's sales increased 23% in the same quarter, indicating that this handset maker, which is now the world's number two in front of Apple, has greatly improved the quality of its products. Important though, it has a much better job in serving the unique needs of Apple's Chinese market, which does little to locate its offers.
Curiously, Xiaomi, another smartphone giant based in China, had Apple problems in the quarter: its unit sales fell by almost 35 percent. But there's an unrelated reason, IDC says: Xiaomi has suffered from "inventory fixes and internal restructuring," the company says. And he expects a rebirth once the 5G-based products start shipping this year.
Overall, Apple is only the fourth best-selling smartphone maker in China, according to IDC, behind Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. Xiaomi is in fifth place. (And IDC does not even mention Samsung, which is strange.)
Note: I had to base this article on other reports on the IDC report, which is not yet public.  Tagged with Apple iPhone