Mobile Devices

Huawei becomes top smartphone vendor for the first time

31 July 2020
Huawei took the number spot away from Samsung barely garnering a 20% share of the market in the second quarter. Source: IDC

Huawei has claimed the top spot in worldwide shipments of smartphones, according to new data from International Data Corp (IDC).

This is the first time that the Chinese telecommunications company has made it to the top of the smartphone ladder after spending numerous quarters in second place. The company shipped 55.8 million smartphones during the second quarter of 2020 and overall, the market declined 16.0% year-over-year, falling to 278.4 million smartphones in the quarter.

"Smartphones shipments suffered a huge decline in Q2 as they directly correlate to consumer spending, which had a massive reduction due to the global economic crisis and rising unemployment brought on by the widespread lockdowns," said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "This, combined with the closure of retail stores, especially in regions where online shopping is less common, compounded the negative effect on smartphone sales. In addition, consumers spent significantly on other technologies, such as PCs, monitors, and tablets, to facilitate mandatory work from home and distance learning, leaving an even smaller share in the shrinking consumer wallet for smartphones."

Huawei achieved its highest-ever share of the global smartphone market with 20.0% driven by tremendous growth in China, which offset the large declines the company faced in other regions, IDC said. However, the impact of the U.S. technology ban will continue to create uncertainty for Huawei in foreign markets, the company said.

Samsung shipped 54.2 million smartphones in the second quarter finishing with a 19.5% share, but suffered a 28.9% year-on-year decline, the most significant of any other vendor in the top five. Apple shipped 37.6 million iPhones during the quarter, good enough for third place with a 13.5% share of the market.

iPhone shipments climbed 11.2% year-over-year with the success of its iPhone 11 series and the launch of the new SE targeting the lower-priced smartphone segment. IDC said with potentially four new models being introduced by Apple in the next year including a 5G model, it could challenge Android 5G devices soon.

Rounding out the Top 5 suppliers in the second quarter were Xiaomi and Oppo with a 10.2% and 8.6% market share, respectively. Both Chinese vendors suffered yearly declines because of the COVID-19 lockdown and anti-China sentiment in India.

Global decline

Regionally, the market for smartphones declined in Asia/Pacific, Western Europe and the U.S. by 31.9%, 14.8% and 12.6%, respectively. China fared better with a decline of 10.3% and shows some early signs of market recovery, IDC said.

"The smartphone supply chain ground to a halt when the pandemic hit. However, recovery, specifically in China, has been strong," said Ryan Reith, vice president of Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. "The question now becomes what does demand look like with so much uncertainty around the world. We have already seen OEMs moving more aggressively with their 5G portfolios both in terms of production and price points. However, we still see consumer demand for 5G being low, so the supply-side push is likely to produce very high-priced competition."

Learn more about IDC’s findings with its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

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