For the first time in years, Samsung or Apple is not the number one smartphone brand in town. Instead, Huawei is after shipping the most in Q2.
Huawei finished the second quarter with more units shipped than any other smartphone-maker, including Samsung. This not only makes it the first time that Huawei has achieved this feat, but it comes at a time when the increased political pressure Huawei is facing has directly impacted on its ability to sell smartphones in some locations.
Similar to TikTok, Huawei has recently found itself in the middle of a dispute between China and the United States. The US government has routinely suggested Huawei’s links to China are too strong, and accused the company of various crimes and behaviors. As a result, Huawei has found itself on a U.S. ban list, and that has greatly impacted its ability to ship smartphones, with the full experience users would expect, to consumers in the US and elsewhere.
In spite of these pressures, Huawei has still managed to rise to the top of the smartphone food chain after overtaking Samsung as the company that shipped the most smartphones in the more recent quarter. According to the latest data from Canalys, Huawei shipped 55.8 million devices in the second quarter of 2020 and this compared to the 53.7 million units shipped by second-place Samsung.
A Smartphone Industry Huawei Milestone
Besides all of the drama and political attention now focused on Huawei, its relationship to China, and what it may or may not have done in the past, this is a major turning point that has been years in the making. Throughout the last few years, Huawei has continually climbed the smartphone rankings each quarter. As Canalys points out, this latest feat means it is the first time in nine years that Samsung or Apple is not number one in terms of smartphone shipments.
Of course, there are additional variables here that have also helped shape the situation. While Huawei is finding it hard to ship internationally, the opposite is true in its domestic market. In China, Huawei’s dominance has only grown over the years and it is that increased home market share that has helped the company ride the international troubles and even the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only has the coronavirus outbreak placed additional pressures on the supply chain, but it has also affected smartphone sales and shipments in general, with Huawei better protected against those effects. For example, Huawei’s 55 million in Q2 2020 is down 5 percent on the year before. In comparison, Samsung’s 53 million is 30 percent down, compared to the same quarter in 2019. With so many variables in play at the same time, it remains unclear now who will be the number one smartphone shipper in the next quarter. Huawei will likely continue to be better protected through domestic China sales, but Samsung is expected to announce its latest premium smartphone, the Galaxy Note 20.
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