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Huawei overtakes Apple in global smartphone market

Huawei overtakes Apple in global smartphone market

Huawei’s Q2 smartphone shipments increased by 41%, meaning that the Chinese device manufacturer has surpassed Apple to take second place in the global smartphone market with a share of 15.5%.

While smartphone shipments are declining globally, data from Strategy Analytics showed that Huawei sold 54.2 million devices in Q2, boosting its market share by almost 5% year-on-year. Apple meanwhile held onto an 11.8% share of the market, having sold 41.3 million devices.

Although Samsung’s market share fell to 20.4% on shipments of 71.5 million units, this was enough for the Korean firm to retain first place. Nonetheless, Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston noted: “This was Samsung’s worst quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2016. Samsung is being squeezed by Chinese rivals, like Xiaomi and Huawei, across major Asian markets such as China and India.”

Research firms IDC and Canalys corroborated Strategy Analytics’ Q2 reports, with IDC noting that the quarter was the first since Q2 2010 in which Apple had not been one of the top two global smartphone vendors in terms of market share. Ryan Reith, programme VP at IDC said: “The continued growth of Huawei is impressive, to say the least, as is its ability to move into markets where, until recently, the brand was largely unknown.”

Meanwhile Canalys noted that Huawei’s P20 – its most recent flagship device – had outsold its predecessors the P10 and P9 based on first quarter sell-in. Huawei’s Honor range were also cited as a key factor in its growth – of the nearly 16 million additional devices that accounted for Huawei’s sales spike in the quarter, around two thirds of units sold were from the Honor sub-brand.

Canalys analyst Mo Jia said: “Huawei’s strategy has evolved significantly over the last six months. The company has turned around quickly, moving away from its drive for profitability and focusing instead on finding volume growth at the low end.”

Huawei’s growth comes despite a 3% year-on-year decline in smartphone shipments globally, with Strategy Analytics data showing that 350 million units were shipped in Q2. Linda Sui, a director at the research firm, noted that the slowdown could be attributed to many factors, including longer replacement rates, stagnant device design, and reduced operator subsidies.

Xiaomi’s global shipments in the quarter grew by 38%, reaching 32 million units to take it to a share of 9.1%. This positions it in fourth place internationally, just ahead of Oppo which sold 30.2 million devices for an 8.6% share. Sui noted that Oppo was looking to weather Huawei’s expansion by making its pricing more competitive and introducing enhanced models, such as the dual SIM R15.

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