Looks like Apple’s slowly losing its grip in one of its biggest markets in the world, and the iPhone SE might become it’s unwitting lifesaver.
According to a study by Kantar Worldpanel, the iPhone maker’s market penetration in China’s “urban” sections went down to 22.2% of the market in the first quarter of the year—which isn’t a good thing for anybody trying to make it in a country where competitors are as numerous as the people.
Case in point: technology giant Huawei is taking the lead in terms of sales. It boasts an astounding 24.4% lead in its sales figures as of February 2016. Due to the sudden 3.2% drop of Apple, Huawei surged into first place.
It isn’t clear as to why Apple suddenly suffered a decline in market share, although the unsettlingly high price of the iPhone 6S might have something to do with it. The 6S costs a whopping ¥5,288 in the country’s urban centers.
But Kantar is hopeful that Apple’s newest offering, the iPhone SE, might be able to reverse the company’s fortunes. The first shipment of SE units arrived March 31, 2016, and it comes with a more reassuring price tag of ¥3,288.
While the company’s market drop isn’t an incredibly big number, there’s always a chance that this might start a gradual loss of sales for Apple in the region. Given that makers like Huawei, Meizu, and Oppo—both of whom have 6% each of the market share—are just in the wings to take over, it’s in Apple’s best interests to maintain a strong presence in China.Whether the iPhone SE will help them do just that remains to be seen.