Huawei fleetingly grabs smartphone second spot from Apple

second hand smartphone

According to research firm Counterpoint Huawei’s smartphones outsold Apple’s over the summer.

As you can see in the table below this was a consequence of both Huawei’s strength and Apple’s weakness. Huawei sustained a rare foray above 10% global smartphone sales share in June and July, while Apple suffered an alarming dip.

“This is a significant milestone for Huawei, the largest Chinese smartphone brand with a growing global presence,” said Peter Richardson of Counterpoint. “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.”

Counterpoint smartphone table sep 17

Apple always experiences significant spike in Q4, which features both new iPhones and the holiday shopping frenzy. So while it’s possible that Huawei could have maintained its lead in August that will almost certainly change after the iPhone 8 is launched on 12 September.

The longer-term trend, however, is for Huawei to be catching Apple. Our tracker table below shows Apple almost ten percentage points of global market share ahead of Huawei in 2014, but that gap had halved by the end of last year. In Q2 2017 Apple was less than a single percentage point ahead of Huawei, so it seems totally plausible that Huawei could overtake Apple permanently before long.

Smartphone market share Q2 2017

“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,” said Counterpoint’s Tarun Pathak. “Chinese vendors have become as equally important as Samsung or Apple to the global supply chain, application developers and distribution channels, as they continue to grow in scale more rapidly than the incumbent market share leaders.”

Another factor working against Apple is how good a smartphone you can now buy at a much lower price point. Apple has struggled to introduce anything revolutionary in its phones for year and when you can get a device that does nearly everything an iPhone can for a fraction of the price, many consumers are finding it increasingly hard to justify the Apple premium.

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