In a falling global market, China-based Huawei boosted smartphone shipments 41 per cent in Q2 to give it a 15.5 per cent market share, pushing it well ahead of Apple as the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor.

Huawei shipped 54.2 million smartphones in the quarter, expanding its market share by nearly 5 percentage points from Q2 2017 (see chart below, click to enlarge), while Apple slipped to third with an 11.8 per cent share on shipments of 41.3 million units, data from Strategy Analytics showed.

Samsung maintained first place despite its share dropping to 20.4 per cent on shipments of 71.5 million units.

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said: “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.”

Impressive growth
Strategy Analytics’ Q2 findings were supported by data from IDC and Canalys.

Huawei’s move into second place marks the first quarter since Q2 2010 where Apple has not been a top two smartphone manufacturer by market share, IDC reported: “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,” said Ryan Reith, programme VP at IDC.

Canalys said Huawei’s performance is partly due to strong sell-in of its latest flagship, the P20, which exceeded launch quarter sell-in of both the P10 and P9. The company cited Huawei’s Honor sub-brand as a major factor in its success, accounting for two-thirds of the near 16 million jump in unit shipments Huawei made during the quarter.

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

Global weakness
Global smartphone shipments fell 3 per cent year-on-year to 350 million units in Q2, Strategy Analytics data showed.

Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics, said the market slowed due to longer replacement rates, diminishing operator subsidies and a lack of new hardware design innovation.

Xiaomi expanded global shipments 38 per cent to 32 million units and held fourth position with a 9.1 per cent share in the quarter. Oppo was fifth with an 8.6 per cent share on shipments of 30.2 million units.

Sui said Oppo was hit hard by Xiaomi’s rapid expansion, but is finally stabilising and fighting back with keener pricing and enhanced new models such as the R15 with dual SIM cards.