Huawei has surpassed Apple as the world's second largest smartphone brand, with Samsung in first place. This is according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s research.
This is based on smartphone sales for June and July 2017 where Huawei consistently shipped more smartphones than Apple. Furthermore, based on Counterpoint's Market Pulse, August sales are also looking positive for Huawei as they are likely to report more smartphone shipments than Apple for three months in a row.
“This is a significant milestone for Huawei, the largest Chinese smartphone brand with a growing global presence. It speaks volumes for this primarily network infrastructure vendor on how far it has grown in the consumer mobile handset space in the last three to four years. The global scale Huawei has been able to achieve can be attributed to its consistent investment in R&D and manufacturing, coupled with aggressive marketing and sales channel expansion," said Peter Richardson, Research Director at Counterpoint.
Global Smartphone Sales Share % | Counterpoint
This is quite a commendable feat for Huawei especially considering how well established, in the smartphone sector, both Apple and Samsung are. Although, these latest smartphone shipment numbers have to be put into context considering that those considering on getting new Apple iPhones are likely holding off their purchases until Apple's event on 12 September 2017 where they will announce the new iPhone to celebrate its tenth anniversary.
“While this streak could be temporary considering the annual iPhone refresh is just around the corner, it nevertheless underscores the rate at which Huawei has been growing. However, a weak presence in the South Asian, Indian and North American markets limit Huawei’s potential in the near-to mid-term to take a sustainable second place position behind Samsung. Huawei is over-dependent on its home market China where it enjoys the leadership position and operator-centric markets in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East," added Richardson.
Global Smartphone Model Sales Market Share (%) | Counterpoint
Some, like Counterpoint's Tarun Pathak, have attributed Huawei's achievemnt to its ability to outsmart competitors.
"The growth of Chinese brands is an important trend which no player in the mobile ecosystem can ignore. Chinese brands with their dominant position in key markets such as China, Europe, Asia and Latin America have restricted the growth prospects for leading global brands such as Samsung and Apple. Chinese brands are growing swiftly thanks not only to smartphone design, manufacturing capability and rich feature sets but also by out-smarting and out-spending rivals in sales channels, go-to-market and marketing promotion strategies," explained Pathak.
Another reason for this could be that Huawei, like Samsung, has multiple smartphones at different price points catering for different income levels. This, then makes Apple's top 3 ranking as a smartphone brand quite notable.
"While Huawei climbed to be the world’s second largest brand overall, it is surprising to see none of its models breaking into the top ten rankings. This is due to a multiple SKU portfolio that currently lacks a true hero device. While having a diverse portfolio allows Huawei to fight on multiple fronts, it does little to build overall brand recognition; something Huawei badly needs if it continues to gain share. While Huawei has trimmed its portfolio, it likely needs to further streamline its product range like Oppo and Xiaomi have done – putting more muscle behind fewer products," concluded Pavel Naiya, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint.
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