Apple’s iPhone could be facing a downturn in overall consumer interest in key markets including Singapore and Hong Kong, according to a report from Reuters based on StatCounter traffic figures from this past weekend. StatCounter found that across 3 million websites for which it monitors traffic, Apple’s share of mobile devices represented in the overall mix in Singapore dropped from 72 percent in January last year to 50 percent this month, with Android climbing from 20 percent to 43 percent in the same time frame.
There is good news, however: Southeast Asia is adopting smartphones at a very fast clip, with consumers increasing their buying of those types of devices 78 percent between September 2011 and September 2012, Reuters says. That means that even if Apple is getting less of the pie in trend-setting cities like Hong Kong, it’s still probably not in danger of seeing its overall subscriber growth slow all that much in Asia in non-relative terms. Still, in Hong Kong, iOS traffic accounts for 30 percent of traffic measured by StatCounter, down from 45 percent one year ago, and Android is now up to around two-thirds of all traffic.
Apple makes no bones about how important the Asia-Pacific market is to its business; the company introduced new reporting practices that break out Greater China sales on their own in its most recent earnings report, in order to better represent that region’s growing contribution to the business. Greater China’s contribution to Apple’s bottom line ballooned vs. the year ago quarter in its Q1 fiscal 2013, growing revenue 67 percent. On a quarterly basis it was up, too, but just 26 percent, where revenue grew by 47 percent sequentially in the Americas, the next slowest mover.
There are good reasons Apple’s growth may have slowed in Greater China, including the fact that the iPhone 5 was only released for much of the region late in the quarter, and the fact that the holiday doesn’t necessarily spike sales as much as it does in the Americas, Europe and other markets. And Apple CEO Tim Cook still singled out China as a “hyper-growth” market for the company in a Town Hall meeting that was just held at the Cupertino Apple HQ, according to 9t05Mac.
Talk of Apple “losing its cool” in China and other parts of Asia isn’t new, and so far, despite market share reports, revenues are not reflecting any mass exodus away from its devices. But Android is definitely gaining ground in those markets, and that’s a trend Apple definitely has to watch and try to counteract.