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Huawei Leads Global Smartphone Market For First Time, Despite Falling Sales Overseas

China’s Huawei shipped more smartphones worldwide than any other vendor for the first time in the second quarter of 2020, despite its overseas shipments falling by 27%.

This marks the first time that a company other than Samsung or Apple has led the market.

“This is a remarkable result that few people would have predicted a year ago. If it wasn’t for COVID-19, it wouldn’t have happened,” said Ben Stanton, Senior Analyst at Canalys.

“Huawei has taken full advantage of the Chinese economic recovery to reignite its smartphone business. Samsung has a very small presence in China, with less than 1% market share, and has seen its core markets, such as Brazil, India, the United States and Europe, ravaged by outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns.”

Huawei now sells over 70% of its smartphones in mainland China, and was able to boost its domestic shipments by 8%.

Overall, Huawei shipped 55.8 million smartphones in Q2 – this represents a year-on-year fall of 5%, which was a less significant contraction than other brands. By comparison, Samsung’s smartphone shipments fell by 30% year-on-year to 53.7 million units.

However, Canalys does not foresee Huawei necessarily holding this lead.

“It will be hard for Huawei to maintain its lead in the long term,” said Mo Jia, Canalyst Analyst.

“Its major channel partners in key regions, such as Europe, are increasingly wary of ranging Huawei devices, taking on fewer models, and bringing in new brands to reduce risk. Strength in China alone will not be enough to sustain Huawei at the top once the global economy starts to recover.”

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