China's Smart Box Market Sees Double-Digit Decline in 2022: Research Institute

The Chinese smart box market has witnessed a double-digit decline in 2022, according to data released by RUNTO, a research institute that tracks the online retail market in China. The market sales volume of smart boxes is expected to be 4.31 million units, a year-on-year decrease of 10%. The decline in the sales volume of China's box market has continued since 2018, dropping to less than 10 million units in recent years.

Online Retail Market Sales Drop by 6.1%

RUNTO's report indicates that the online retail market sales of smart boxes are expected to reach 2.382 million units in 2022, accounting for 55.3% of all channels, a year-on-year decrease of 6.1%. The sales amount was 530 million yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 12.8%.

Seasonal Promotions Failed to Drive Sales

Despite seasonal promotions, the sales volume of smart boxes in China continued to decline. The report shows that the sales volume in January was the highest, exceeding 350,000 units, due to the promotion of the New Year's Day and the traditional Chinese New Year's return to hometown. However, the sales volume continued to decline afterward. Even second-class large-scale promotional activities failed to drive the market sales of smart boxes. Only September and October saw growth in the whole year from a year-on-year perspective.

TOP4 Brands Continue to Dominate

The data also reveals that the number of brands on the Chinese smart box online market will reach 108 in 2022. However, the mainstream brands continue to dominate the market. The TOP4 brands, including Xiaomi, Tencent, Tmall Box, and Dangbei, have a combined share (CR4) of 55.7%, down 13.2 percentage points from the same period last year. The market presents an oligopoly competition pattern.

Xiaomi Leads the Market with a Share of 18.9%

Relying on its brand awareness and cost-effectiveness, Xiaomi has enhanced artificial intelligence and focused on smart home interconnection, occupying the top position with a share of 18.9%. Xiaomi's product line is refined, and the number of models on sale is the least among the TOP4 brands, with only seven models, and the model has the highest efficiency. Mi Box 4S has been the best-selling model for two consecutive years.

Tencent Grabs 16.7% of the Market Share

Tencent grabbed 16.7% of the market share, an increase of 2.5 percentage points year-on-year, ranking second. Taking advantage of its strengths in the gaming field, Tencent has added cloud gaming functions, turning the box into a game console. It works at both ends of the product matrix. 3C boxes often fall below 100 yuan during the promotion period, so they occupy nearly 20% of the low-end market. At the same time, they keep pace with Dangbei in the high-end market of more than 400 yuan, sharing 80% of the market.

Tmall Box Ranks Third with a Market Share of 12.8%

Tmall's Box ranked third with a market share of 12.8%. Relying on the advantages of its own platform and ecological chain, it embeds online shopping, payment of utility bills, and other daily life functions in the product. Users can directly log in to a Taobao account and use Alipay to pay, and the experience tends to be smooth and convenient


Dangbei's Market Share Reaches 7.3%

Dangbei's share of the overall market reached 7.3%, a year-on-year increase of 1.3 percentage points. The company's focus on the mid-to-high-end market has paid off, with Dangbei boasting the highest average price among the top 10 brands. It is the only brand with an average price of more than 500 yuan. Among its product lineup, the Z1 Pro stands out with a high-definition camera that enables video calls, remote housekeeping, somatosensory interaction, AI fitness, and other features that have contributed more than 50% of the market above 1,000 yuan.

The rise in Dangbei's market share can be attributed to the company's innovative approach to product development. Dangbei has been able to differentiate itself from other brands by focusing on high-end consumers who are willing to pay a premium for advanced features and superior performance. By catering to the needs of this demographic, Dangbei has been able to carve out a niche in the market and establish itself as a top player.

In contrast to Dangbei's success, many small and medium-sized brands have struggled to gain a foothold in the market. Most of these companies rely on low prices to attract customers, which often leads to razor-thin profit margins. However, a few new brands have managed to break into the top 10 this year. Finite and BSWAY are among the new brands that have shown promise in the smart box market.

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