In the wake of a global storm occasioned by its blacklisting by the US government, strong sales of its devices on its home soil helped Huawei register positive numbers as far as shipments go in the second quarter of 2019, data from research firm Canalys shows.
Strong smartphone sales in China, where it managed to register 38% market share after shipping 37.3 million smartphones in 3 months, helped Huawei cement its position as the second-biggest smartphone maker in the world, after Samsung.
Apple, which previously held on to the position, saw its fortunes go down with a drop in global market share to just under 10% occasioned by lower shipments of its iPhones when compared to a similar period last year.
Of the top 5 smartphone makers, Apple was the only one to register a drop year-over-year.
Besides Huawei, other Chinese smartphone makers, namely Xiaomi and Oppo, grew their market share. This is despite Beijing-based Xiaomi shipping slightly less smartphones (by 1%) in Q2 2019 than it did in Q2 2018. Apple’s drop was in the double digits – 13%.
Canalys notes that Apple’s iPhone XR, XS and XS Max, “are not differentiated enough to prompt its expanding installed base of customers to upgrade, while recent price cuts and an increased rate of trade-in has not been enough to offset the decline.”
The silver lining, however, was Apple’s “mid-range” iPhone, the iPhone XR. According to Canalys, the XR accounted for 37.5% of the Cupertino-based company’s shipments in the month of May.
Samsung shipped 76.9 million smartphone units in Q2 2019, an increase of 6% from a similar period in 2018. According to Canalys, Samsung’s decision to ditch its Galaxy J series of budget devices in favour of a more revamped Galaxy A series comprising of devices like the Galaxy A10, A20 all the way to the A80, paid early dividends in the quarter. Over half of Samsung’s shipments in Q2 were from the new Galaxy A lineup and the same is expected to be the trend for the remainder of the year.
The 2019 Galaxy A series of smartphones has allowed Samsung to get back at Chinese device makers Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo who have previously encroached on markets it once dominated. The Korean smartphone maker had been slow to react to the onslaught from the Chinese.
Samsung benefitted a lot from Huawei’s troubles with the Western world over security concerns as those countries rolled out their 5G networks. Huawei, a darling for certain European markets like Spain and Italy, ceded some of its market share in Europe and Samsung was the biggest beneficiary, according to Canalys.
The decision by Donald Trump’s government to blacklist Huawei led to the Chinese device maker’s smartphone shipments standing at 21.4 million in Q2, a drop from the previous quarter.
Overall, 331.8 million smartphone units were shipped in Q2 2019, a drop of 2% from the 339.7 million shipped in Q2 2018.
According to another research firm, GfK, smartphone sales are expected to drop this year as well just as they have for the last few years.