Huawei emerges No 1 as global smartphone sales drop 16%

The Chinese brand now has the biggest market share after coronavirus shakes up the sector

Shenzhen-based Huawei shipped 55.8 million smartphones in the second quarter. AFP
Shenzhen-based Huawei shipped 55.8 million smartphones in the second quarter. AFP

Global smartphone sales plummeted 16 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.

Nearly 278.4 million smartphones were sold in three months to June 30, more than 53 million less than the same period last year, as major economies around the globe followed lockdown restrictions during the period, said researcher International data Corporation in its latest report.

"Smartphones shipments suffered a huge decline in second quarter 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 at IDC.

From a regional perspective, Asia-Pacific (excluding China and Japan), Western Europe and the US declined 31.9 per cent, 14.8 per cent and 12.6 per cent, respectively.

"The closure of retail stores, especially in regions where online shopping is less common, compounded the negative effect on smartphone sales,” said Ms Popal.

Despite its sales falling nearly 5.1 per cent annually in the second quarter, Chinese brand Huawei for the first time reached the number one position with 20 per cent market share. It shipped 55.8 million smartphones during the period.

This was driven by Huawei's tremendous growth in China – almost 10 per cent year-on-year – which offset the large declines the company faced in every other region, said Massachusetts-based IDC, adding, “The US technology ban will continue to create uncertainty for Huawei in foreign markets.

Samsung trailed Huawei with a 19.5 per cent market share and Apple retaining 13.5 per cent.

South Korean tech giant, which shipped 54.2 million smartphones in three months, suffered a 28.9 per cent year-on-year decline, the most significant among the top five vendors.

Smartphone cases for Apple Inc. devices hang in an accessories display area at the Orange SA Paris Opera boutique store in Paris, France, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Orange report second quarter earnings on July 30. Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg
Apple sold 37.6 million iPhones in the second quarter, 3.8 million more than the same period last year. Bloomberg

While the budget-friendly A series performed well during the quarter, the premium devices such the Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy Z Flip, launched in the peak of the pandemic, are facing sales challenges despite price reductions.

Apple, which faced supply constraints and store closures in the second quarter, was the only brand that saw a positive rise in market share during the period. It sold 37.6 million iPhones, 3.8 million more than the same period last year.

"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, IDC.

"The question now becomes what does demand look like with so much uncertainty around the world. We have already seen manufacturers moving more aggressively with their 5G portfolios both in terms of production and price points,” added Mr Reith.

Published: July 31, 2020 05:11 PM


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