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Huawei Surpasses Samsung To Become Number One In Global Smartphone Shipments In Q2 2020

Huawei’s 11% YoY growth in China helped it surpass Samsung to lead the Global Smartphone Market

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The global smartphone market declined at its fastest ever rate at -24% YoY in Q2 2020, to 271.4 million units, according to the latest research from 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 Q2 2020.
Commenting on Huawei’s lead, Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research noted “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 like Europe, LATAM, and North America. Smartphone shipments in China declined 17% YoY, a more modest decline than the rest of the world that declined 28% YoY. 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.”

Samsung declined 29% YoY as its core markets including LATAM, India, the USA and Europe were struggling from the effects of the pandemic and lockdowns. However, Counterpoint research believes that Samsung will recover in the coming quarters. As economies improve, Samsung will be aggressively able to cater to the pent-up demand in the post-lockdown period. For developed markets, the performance of its flagships (Galaxy Note and S series) will be the key driver for its growth together with the mid-tier 5G product portfolio. This is especially true in European markets where Chinese brands are entering with their mid-tier products.

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.
Commenting on the market dynamics, Varun Mishra, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research noted, “The impact of COVID-19 on the smartphone market was more evident in the second quarter compared to the first quarter. The world’s largest smartphone market, China, fared better and as a result China’s accounted for almost a third (31%) of global smartphone shipments; the highest since Q2 2017. However, 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.”
Talking about overall market dynamics, Varun Mishra adds, “Shipments improved in each month through the quarter with global smartphone shipments in June rebounding by 34% over May. Markets like India reached pre-COVID levels in June due to pent-up demand. This is a positive sign as we head towards recovery.”
Xiaomi continued to lead the Indian smartphone market in Q2 2020. Xiaomi was also able to hold its market share in China driven by heavy promotions during the 618-e-commerce festival. realme grew 11% YoY in the quarter as several markets in Europe and India recovered in June. Realme was the fastest-growing brand in the quarter. Meanwhile Apple iPhone shipments grew 3% YoY and revenues grew 2% YoY. The company saw sustained momentum of the iPhone 11 and a great sales start of the iPhone SE. All regions saw revenue growth. Vivo declined 18% YoY during the quarter. Vivo has been steadily gaining market share in emerging markets, especially South East Asia. The V-series, with its unique positioning and price point has helped the brand gain share in markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam and India. Oppo declined 20% YoY during the quarter, however, it performed well in the European market driven by its refreshed portfolio of A-series.

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