Huawei has overtaken Samsung as the world’s biggest smartphone maker in Q2 2020, according to a report by Canalys. This comes after Counterpoint Research suggested that Huawei had briefly surpassed Samsung in April 2020. The reason behind Huawei’s success according to the research firm is the coronavirus pandemic.
Canalys states that Huawei shipped 55.8 million smartphones worldwide in Q2 2020 which was a 5 percent decline compared to last year. But, Samsung was able to ship 53.7 million smartphones during the same time, which was a much larger 30 percent decline compared to Q2 2019.
Canalys said that it’s the first time in nearly a decade that a company other than Samsung or Apple has led a quarterly global smartphone shipments list.
As companies struggle to maintain momentum during the pandemic, few have managed to weather the storm. While Huawei has seemingly struggled as much as its rivals on the global stage, it has been aided in a big way by growing strength in its local market. As China was among the first countries to largely recover from the pandemic’s effects, Huawei’s operations there kept the company buoyant.
How buoyant, you ask? Chinese shipments are now said to account for 72% of the company’s total shipments share, up from 61% in Q1 2020 and just over 50% a year prior. This helped to cushion Huawei’s international fall, which saw another 27% decrease in Q2 2020, the fifth successive quarter that the company has seen declining global shipments.
In comparison, Samsung holds less than 1% of the market in China. The Korean company’s international shipments figure saw an even steeper fall than Huawei too. It recorded a 30% year-over-year drop in Q2 2020. Huawei recovered slightly over the previous quarter, but still saw a fall of 27% in shipments beyond China.
In terms of total units shipped, Huawei reportedly saw 55.8 million devices leave its factories in Q2 2020. Samsung’s quoted figure stands at 53.7 million units.
Post-pandemic recovery aided Huawei
“This is a remarkable result that few people would have predicted a year ago,” said Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton. “If it wasn’t for COVID-19, it wouldn’t have happened.”
That said, it’s not clear if it’s a position Huawei will be able to maintain post-pandemic. As more countries recover economically from the fallout, the company’s US trade ban will likely continue to impact its global performance.
These effects are pretty clear too judging by 2019 data. Just prior to the ban, Huawei saw a 61% increase to its global shipments in Q1 2019. The company in March reportedly expected its troubles to affect its sales by as much as 20% in 2020.
Samsung may also expect a brief rise in device shipments in the latter half of the year following its August 5 event and the announcement of the Galaxy Note 20 series. It’s likely that Huawei will also debut its Mate 40 series this year, but it may be subject to delays.
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