Smartphone shipments in China during Q4 2020 fell as US trade sanctions hit Huawei, offsetting gains by its rival top-five vendors, data from Canalys showed.

Huawei’s domestic market share fell from 41 per cent in Q4 2019 to 22 per cent on shipments of 18.8 million units, down 43.7 per cent year-on-year. The figure includes shipments of Honor devices.

Canalys VP of mobility Nicole Peng said the quarter was possibly Huawei’s toughest, and it was unlikely to be able to meet “huge demand” for its smartphones “in the foreseeable future”.

“Other vendors are eyeing this opportunity”, Peng noted.

Oppo consolidated its number two position, with shipments increasing 23 per cent to 17.2 million and market share up 4 percentage points to 20 per cent.

Vivo also added 4 percentage points, ending the year with a 19 per cent share after shipments rose 20 per cent to 15.7 million.

Apple’s shipments increased 20 per cent to 15.3 million for an 18 per cent share, and Xiaomi shipped 12.2 million, up 52 per cent for a 15 per cent share.

Total shipments in the quarter of 84 million were 4 per cent lower, with an 11 per cent drop in the full year to 330.3 million.

Peng tipped Honor to perform well after being spun-off from Huawei, with Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi expected to increase their investments in “flagship and premium portfolios focusing on product breadth and premium components”, with a focus on 5G devices.

“As Huawei recedes, local consumers and channels are exposed to more choices, while newer or smaller brands have more chances to stand out. The market will be ready to embrace a long period of shake up in the coming year,” she explained.