Huawei Surpassed Samsung in Smartphone Shipments in 2Q20

In the second quarter of 2020, the global smartphone market declined at its fastest ever rate, -24% on a yearly basis, to 271.4 million units, according to Counterpoint Research. This was also the first time that Huawei, even after struggling with US sanctions, surpassed Samsung to become the top player in the global smartphone market in the qurter.

“Huawei was able to attain this feat due to a unique market scenario created because of COVID-19. China, Huawei’s largest market, is now recovering from the pandemic compared to other markets. Smartphone shipments in China declined 17%, a more modest decline than the rest of the world that declined 28%. Huawei continued its push in China, benefiting from the recovery. It now holds almost half (47%) the market in China, and this alone contributes to 71% of Huawei’s shipments compared to 62% a year ago. However, in markets outside China, its shipments declined 29% YoY. Huawei did well in some Eastern Europe markets like Russia and Ukraine. But as markets outside China recover, it will be difficult for Huawei to maintain this lead in coming quarters,” said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.

The impact of COVID-19 on the smartphone market was more evident in the second quarter. The world’s largest smartphone market, China, fared better and as a result accounted for almost a third (31%) of global smartphone shipments, the highest since Q2 2017. Despite daily COVID-19 cases in China falling to very low levels, the smartphone market is only running at around 85% of the pre-COVID-19 levels, indicating continuing consumer caution. While the overall market declined, 5G continued to grow, driven by China. 5G smartphone shipments continued their growth streak globally, growing more than 43% sequentially for the quarter. The shipment penetration of 5G smartphones increased to over 11% of all smartphones compared with 7% last quarter.

Huawei shipped 54,8 million devices, 0,6 million more than Samsung. Both held 20% of the global market. Apple was third with 14% of the market, ahead of Xiaomi and Oppo who took 9% and 8% respectively. The share of the top 10 brands reached 88% compared to 80% last year. Brands outside of the top 10 declined 55% YoY. The impact of COVID-19 was more severe on smaller brands that tend to have lower online presence and that tend to cater more to the entry-level segments.

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