IDC released data showing that China’s high-end cell phone market share above $600 reached 13.3% in the first half of 2022, bucking the trend of growth compared to the same period in 2021 and 2020, up 1.0 and 3.8 percentage points respectively. The high-end cell phone market has become a must-compete place for all companies. The iPhone 14 series appearance changes and image enhancements are expected to be the most attractive selling point for the iPhone series in recent years.
Together with other different upgrades that can help Apple (155.96, 1.43, 0.93%) (AAPL.US) in the face of the impact of various Android high-end models, it is expected to consolidate and even continue to enhance its dominance in the high-end cell phone market.
Appearance changes: the screen size increased and the “dynamic island” design. All along, the iPhone mini series can be said to have a high online voice, but not many actually shell out money to support it. So in the current sluggish cell phone market, cutting a small screen product line that can not bring real benefits, pick up the previous good effect of the large screen strategy, “look bigger” to take over the “more than big” and “big screen See you on the” slogan, both in line with the logic of mature business operations, but also will bring more beautiful sales results. After all, a larger screen, but relatively inexpensive iPhone can meet the needs of more consumers.
As a result, IDC predicts that the share of large-screen 6.5″<7″ iPhone shipments will grow from 21.6 percent in 2022 to 25.7 percent in 2023 and will exceed 30 percent in 2026. More importantly, for the average consumer, changes in product appearance are more easily perceived, and increased recognition is more likely to stimulate the desire to buy. Therefore, for consumers with more sufficient budget, the Pro version’s “Smart Island” design will not only expand the screen ratio, display more information content, and present a new way of interaction, but also change the design language of iPhone X, which will attract more consumers’ attention and interest, and thus stimulate more consumer demand. It will also attract more consumers’ attention and interest, thus stimulating more consumer demand.
The main camera pixel is upgraded and the imaging capability is further upgraded. In recent years, the main camera pixels of cell phones have been increasing, from 48 megapixels, 50 megapixels, and 64 megapixels to 100 megapixels, and even 200 megapixels of Android phones have been listed. The share of 14-megapixel phones is also 26%. Among competing Android brands, high-end flagships and mid-range product lines generally use higher megapixel main cameras of 48 megapixels and above, while low-end volume models also mainly use 13 megapixel main cameras. Although relying on powerful algorithms, the image experience is excellent, but the market mainstream manufacturers only Apple still adhere to the 12-megapixel main camera from the iPhone 6s, even the starting price of nearly 10,000 yuan iPhone 13 Pro Max is also the same.
But this year’s iPhone 14 Pro series finally upgraded to a 48-megapixel main camera lens, ushering in a larger upgrade in image capability. For the average consumer, the higher pixel upgrade of the main camera means a more intuitive improvement in the phone’s ability to shoot and record, which can lead to a better image experience. In fact, recent generations of iPhones have progressively upgraded their camera features in favor of video, especially since last year’s iPhone 13 series brought movie mode, which further lowered the threshold for professional video shooting. This year, the iPhone 14 Pro series began to support 4K video shooting at 24 frames per second, making the iPhone continue to become a benchmark for video creation tools like existence.
Apple still has a clear advantage in China’s high-end handset market. Under the impact of uncontrollable factors starting in the second half of 2020, the head Android vendors are absent, while Apple’s share in China’s high-end cell phone market above $600 bullish all the way to the end of 2021 to reach the highest share of 76.9% in the past three years. 2022 onwards, other head Android vendors continue to invest in high-end flagship models, whether it is self-research chips, Folding screens, images, etc., the effect is beginning to show, product competitiveness continues to improve, and market share began to rise back to 30.5%, but the gap with Apple is still large.
IDC believes that consumer budget spending will continue to be affected, and the domestic smartphone market is expected to be difficult to see much improvement in 2022. But products that can bring a differentiated experience can still impress consumers and drive consumer power to switch. Even though the iPhone 14, which assumes the role of the main shipping force, still has problems such as using the previous generation chip, not supporting high refresh rate, and slow charging speed across the system, the launch of Plus models with larger screen sizes and big changes in appearance such as “Lingering Island”, the continued improvement of the image experience, and new body color schemes will enable consumers to have a more intuitive feel for the upgrades to the iPhone 14 series. In particular, the unchanged price of the full range of low storage versions will likely trigger a certain wave of switching, which will continue to consolidate or enhance Apple’s dominance in China’s high-end cell phone market.
However, as the major domestic Android manufacturers insist on long-term investment in high-end routes, including products, services, channels and brands, it will obviously improve the competitiveness of Android phones in the high-end market. In addition, more and more Android manufacturers and the supply chain start to cooperate deeply from the technology pre-research stage, and the mode of sharing the investment and risk has been gradually generalized, and some of the underlying technology is also more open, and more and more customized and differentiated products are appearing. Through more time accumulation, from quantitative change to qualitative change, Android cell phones are expected to gradually stabilize the high-end market and will launch further impact Apple’s dominant position in the future, and the competition in the high-end cell phone market will be more intense.