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MM 4-5-19 Pokemon Go Header

Mobile Monday: Apple’s Chinese Headwinds & Pokémon GO’s Summer Soirees

Posted Apr 7, 2019

Apple’s year in China may not be as rosy as initially planned. The company recently revised its guidance on the quarter citing strong competition in China. On the sunnier side of things, Niantic has announced their latest set of Pokémon GO summer events around the world, taking player engagement and retention (and hopefully re-engagement) to another level after the success of their 2018 events. More details below in this week’s Mobile Monday!

Re-engagement With Real-World Events
Last year, Pokémon GO developer Niantic combined the appeal of their wildly successful augmented reality (AR) title with social and local event with the Pokémon GO summer events. This year, the developer is bringing a similar style of local events with unique community-driven events in Chicago, Dortmund, Germany, and a to-be-announced location in Asia. Every mobile developer understands the need to keep users engaged over the long-term, and Niantic is no different, with both new content added regularly (in the form of additional Pokémon for users to catch) and events like these seasonal gatherings.

Pokemon Go Fest

Ongoing events and regular communication with users (something Niantic wasn’t always good at) are key to retaining players over time.

Niantic doesn’t just have these events for locals (or those willing to travel) but builds additional in-game events into the world around the same time frame so users worldwide can participate in the event in a way, driving users back to the app more frequently. In addition to the return of Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, the company announced the summer evens will add 4 Safari Zones and 12 Community Days to the app.

Apple in China — Tough Times Ahead?
Apple revised its quarterly earnings guidance last week due to some gnarly headwinds in China, a market where the company has done very well over the last few years with the wild success of the iPhone. In the $500-$800 luxury smartphone market in China, Apple has dominated the competition, as Chinese manufacturers were keen to eat up the lower-end demand, a segment Apple struggled to break into even with “budget” iPhones.

Apple China MM 4-5

Recently though, local Chinese-owned competitors like Oppo, Vivo, Huawei, and Xiaomi, not to mention Samsung, have entered into the more premium market, greatly shrinking Apple’s share of the market from 81% in 2017 to 55% in 2018 and it looks set to shrink further. Part of the issue for Apple here is the increased cost of their own devices, especially the iPhone XS which sits outside the $500-$800 range.

Will these market forces in China cause Apple to shift their super-premium iPhone pricing strategy moving forward? It’s too early to tell this year, but we’ll be keeping an eye on it come the traditional new iPhone announcements in September!

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Mobile Monday examines the latest news, trends, and developments in mobile apps, tech, and advertising. Do you have a story to share for the next Mobile Monday?

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