Apple has been struggling a bit with iPhone sales as it has allegedly slashed production numbers for Q1 2019 amid soft demand. Apple isn't the only smartphone maker feeling the pinch of a soft market, while iPhone sales are down, sales of Android devices are faltering, particularly in the high-end range where Samsung and Apple dominate. The weak demand is in part due to prices growing, and consumers are waiting for 5G devices to hit the market before upgrading.
Apple has had a particularly hard road in China where its high-prices are sending consumers to Chinese brands like Huawei and Xiaomi, but Apple is not lying down in the Chinese market without a fight. The company has slashed the price of iPhone models in China, and unsurprisingly, sales have grown for the device. Reports indicate that after Apple cut the price on the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, and on several older iPhones, sales are up. Price cuts landed for third-party distributors in China on January 10.
Price cuts allowed Chinese vendors to save on the purchase price from Apple, and lower the prices they are offering consumers. Not long after Apple dropped the prices, the iPhone XR was on sale online in China for 6099 yuan, which is about $899. Apple sells the iPhone XR directly in China via its stores for $958. Data sourced from Alibaba alleges that since the price cuts were made, sales on its website have increased 76%; other online sites are reporting similar sales booms after price cuts. Suning, for example, claims that since Apple cut prices, its sales have grown by 83%.
The price cuts were in response to slowing iPhone sales in China, which is a crucial market for vendors as much of the rest of the world is seeing smartphone sales decline. Apple CEO Tim Cook had stated previously that the company was returning to prices similar to last year in some international markets to boost sales; it appears the tactic has worked in China.