Apple Faces Unprecedented Challenge in China, Forced to Discount iPhone 15 Amidst Plummeting Sales

Apple's Unprecedented Move: Discounting iPhone 15 in China Amidst Declining Market Share


Apple, a company known for seldom offering discounts on its latest iPhones, is now compelled to take an unusual step in China. In response to concerns over dwindling demand, Apple is offering a direct discount of 500 yuan, approximately $70, on all iPhone 15 models, including the flagship iPhone 15 Pro Max. This move comes ahead of the Lunar New Year in February, a significant Chinese holiday, and during one of China’s busiest online shopping periods.

Typically, Apple relies on its unique market position and rarely discounts its latest iPhones through official channels. However, a reported 30% decline in iPhone sales in China over the past year has forced the company to adopt this rare strategy. Market analysts attribute this decline to the growing preference for premium phones from local competitors like Huawei and Xiaomi, which have introduced Android-powered foldable phones.

Once a lucrative market for Apple, China’s demand for iPhones appears to be waning. Homegrown companies offering competitive alternatives, coupled with Huawei’s resilience in bringing new premium products to market despite sanctions, have contributed to this shift. Barclays downgraded Apple’s stock to underweight due to low iPhone 15 sales in China, predicting a continued lack of demand even with the release of the iPhone 16 in 2024.

The challenge for Apple lies not just in losing customers to other brands but in the migration of Chinese users away from the Apple ecosystem to Android. This departure signifies a significant shift in customer preferences, indicating that Apple’s current iPhone strategy is falling short. While these discounts may offer temporary relief, the broader question is whether Apple can regain the interest of the Chinese customer, or if it will face further declines and challenges in this once-thriving market.