Huawei eyes No.1 spot after shipping 95m smartphones

The Huawei Consumer business unit has had a bit of a boast, claiming to have shipped more than 95 million smartphones across the first six months as it leap-frogs Apple to second place in the market share rankings.

According to recent estimates from IDC, Huawei now accounts for 15.8% of global market share, but will have some work to do to catch Samsung in first place, with the Koreans holding down a 20.9% share. That said, while Huawei is gathering steam, Q2 shipments saw a year-on-year increase of 40.9%, Samsung’s three months was certainly less positive as it dropped 10.4% in comparison to the same period of 2017.

“The past six months have been incredible for Huawei CBG, marked by robust growth of our business across all markets and product lines,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group. “Our success is owed to our commitment to innovation and, most importantly, our customers. Moving forward, Huawei will remain focused on continually improving our offerings with an emphasis on on-device AI, cloud and the wider Huawei ecosystem.”

Looking at the specific models, the team claim the P20 Series was a hit with the fashion conscious consumers, with 9 million shipments, while the Mate 10 Series capitalised on AI trends with 10 million devices sold. The nova Series increased shipments 60% year-on-year, exceeding 50 million in the competitive, and questionably profitable, mid-range market.

Of course, success has not gone to the heads of executives. At a press briefing, Yu suggested Huawei could be the number one smartphone brand worldwide by Q4 2018. With Huawei’s current momentum, and track-record of upsetting the global status quo, it is certainly a believable forecast, though the next couple of months will certainly paint a clearer picture.

Pre-orders have already begun for Samsung’s next flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, though the S9/S9+ most certainly failed to impress earlier this year as executives pointed to the device as the reason for the decline in shipments. Apple enthusiasts will also be eagerly awaiting launch of three next generations of iPhone models, each promising different screens sizes, price points, increased performance, and new features.

Another interesting brand to keep an eye on will be Huawei’s domestic rival Xiaomi. According to the IDC statistics, shipments in Q2 grew 48.8%, taking the team to a 9.3%. Xiaomi usurped Samsung as the number one brand in the burgeoning Indian market and closed the gap in Indonesia as it ramped up its local production. Whether Xiaomi can mount a sustained challenge in the developing markets remains to be seen.

Huawei might have had a good run over the last three months, but this might be down to competitors entering a quieter period of the year. The performance of the brand will certainly be put to the test as Apple and Samsung launch heavy marketing assaults onto the world with new flagship devices.

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