Huawei leapfrogs Apple as Samsung leads global smartphone market

By Anuj Sharma - August 1, 2018
Samsung led the smartphone market by volume with a market share of 20 per cent in Q2 2018 even though it registered an annual decline of 11 per cent due to weak sales of its flagship Galaxy S9 series ....

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei surpassed Apple to become the second largest smartphone brand worldwide in the second quarter of 2018 as South Korean giant Samsung continued to be the global leader, market research firm Counterpoint Research has said.

Samsung led the smartphone market by volume with a market share of 20 per cent in Q2 2018 even though it registered an annual decline of 11 per cent due to weak sales of its flagship Galaxy S9 series smartphones. Even as Samsung smartphone shipment volumes declined globally, the brand posted a record second quarter in India, regaining its top position in India smartphone market.

Samsung will be launching its Galaxy Note 9 flagship early to counter the string of premium segment launches by its competitors and to gain some momentum before the launch of new iPhone in September. It will also focus on launching newer models with high specs in each price segment, to counter the growing competition.

According to the Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, global smartphone shipments declined two per cent annually to 360 million units in Q2 2018. Top 10 players now capture 79 per cent of the market thereby leaving 600+ brands to compete for the remaining 21 per cent of the market. The weak smartphone demand is due to a slow-down in developed markets like China, US and Western Europe where replacement cycles are lengthening. Huawei became the top brand in a declining China market and captured the second spot in the global smartphone shipment rankings for the first time in a single quarter.

Huawei shipments grew 41 per cent annually in Q2 2018. The company managed to be the fastest growing (21 per cent) smartphone brand amid a declining China smartphone market and grew fully 71 per cent overseas. Huawei’s continuous efforts to expand in markets outside China has resulted in strong annual growth in Europe (+75 per cent), MEA (+67 per cent), and in India (+188 per cent), where its Honor brand retained its place in the top five smartphone rankings.

“Huawei had a good second quarter in 2018 as it shipped more smartphones than Apple to capture the second spot in the global smartphone rankings, after seven years of Apple-Samsung dominance. Huawei achieved this by launching smartphones in the premium segment and capturing the mid-tier segment with its fast-growing Honor sub-brand,” commented Tarun Pathak Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.

Apple shipped 41.3 million iPhones during Q2 2018, up one per cent compared to the same quarter last year. iPhone X remains the top seller for Apple during the quarter. Average selling price fell marginally compared to the previous quarter due to the greater mix of iPhone 8, 8 Plus and older iPhone models.

Second quarter Apple shipments remain flat in China year over year. During the quarter, share of online sales for Apple grew both sequentially and annually due to comparatively higher discounts available online as compared to offline channels.

Apple had a slow quarter in India, the third largest smartphone market globally. It underwent changes in its distribution strategy. Apart from this, its domestic assembling is yet to pick-up pace, which means the company is still relying on imports for its sales in India. Apple had one per cent market share during the quarter, its lowest in recent history, the report added.

Nokia HMD, OnePlus, Tecno, Xiaomi, Infinix and Huawei were the key fast-growing brands for the quarter. Lenovo, Gionee, Micromax and Sony registered the highest shipment volume declines in Q2 2018.

Tecno entered the top 10 smartphone market for the first time. Together the three smartphone brands of Transsion holdings (Tecno, iTel and Infinix) accounted for over 9.4 million smartphones shipped during Q2 2018.

Xiaomi shipped 33 million smartphones, capturing nine per cent market share of the global smartphone market in Q2 2018. Xiaomi remained one of the fastest growing brands (+43 per cent) in Q2 2018, driven by record shipment in India with 112 per cent annual growth. The brand's shipment beyond China and India increased 186 per cent annually in the quarter.

OPPO and vivo were the fifth and sixth largest brands during the quarter, capturing eight per cent and seven per cent market share, respectively. OPPO recorded an annual decline of three per cent while vivo registered a growth of one per cent.

During the quarter, OPPO and vivo also expanded their presence in the premium segment by launching devices like the Find X and Nex. The aggressive expansion of these brands in markets outside mainland China will be the key to growth as the home market reaches saturation levels in 2018.

LG registered 10.2 million smartphone shipments in Q2 2018. LG’s smartphone shipments declined 23 per cent annually due to decreasing sales of its mid and low segment smartphones in North and Latin America.

Lenovo (including Motorola) captured the eighth spot with a market share of three per cent. While the Motorola brand registered an annual growth in shipments, it was eclipsed by the decline in Lenovo-branded smartphone shipments.

Nokia HMD captured a spot on the global top 10 smartphone shipments ranking for the first time since its re-entry into the smartphone market. Nokia HMD has expanded its smartphone portfolio with a series of launches in the recent quarters that helped the brand increase its presence globally.


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