Apple’s iPhone sales were up sharply last quarter in China, even among its urban poor

“According to the latest Kantar Worldpanel report, Apple didn’t just consolidate its smartphone leadership in urban China last quarter, growing its share to 26.1% from 17.9%,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“It also reached beyond the growing middle class that represents the bulk of Apple’s sales in China,” P.E.D. reports. “In the first quarter of 2015, according to Kantar’s Tamsin Timpson, ‘Apple represented 25% of smartphone sales in urban China’s 2,000 to 4,000 RMBs income bracket — a 10.1 percentage point increase from the same period in 2014.”

P.E.D. reports, “A 2,000 to 4,000 RMBs income bracket works out, in U.S. dollars, to somewhere between $322 and $644 [per month].”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Aspirational brands aspire to be Apple.

Note: McKinsey’s definition of middle class in China is households earning from 60,000 – 229,000 RMBs annually.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bill” for the heads up.]


  1. While Forbes continues it virulent attack against Apple yesterday has this headline: “Apples iPhone Continues To Lose Market Share Month to Month.” Two days ago someone published a article saying iPhone sales in Europe had surpassed samdung. What is Forbes getting (cash) and from whom is it getting this cash? What a rag Forbes has become. Malcolm is surely rolling in his grave.

    1. I agree, but it is for them to decide. My observation of the Chinese is that they seek value and will sacrifice immediate convenience to get it. They are very frugal, in the best sense of the word.

    2. Apple’s status in China is hard to appreciate unless you spend time there. It is a symbol of taste and sophistication.

      A key element of this report is its emphasis on “urban China.” In large cities (and there are many of them in China), consumer behavior is not much different from what it is in affluent western countries. There is more money spent on clothes and personal tech – as a percentage of income – because many costs such as transportation are so much lower than in the US or EU.

      When I ride subways or trains in the vicinity of Shanghai, I am always struck by how neatly dressed people are, and that EVERY person has a smartphone (and is using it).

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