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Huawei’s phone sales are ballooning while Apple and Samsung’s slump
The world’s second-largest phone maker is now Huawei, and it has the top spot in its sights
IDC and Strategy Analytics have released their latest smartphone shipment numbers, and the clear winner of the last few months has been China’s Huawei, at the expense of incumbent global leaders Samsung and Apple, both of which lost ground.
Huawei has been flirting with the position of world’s second-largest smartphone vendor for a while, having taken over from Apple for the first time in 2017, before switching back and forth in 2018. The company’s improvement in 2019, however, appears to set it up with a firmer control of the second spot: Huawei jumped from 39.3 million phones shipped in the first quarter of 2018 to 59.1 million shipments in Q1 2019, as noted by both IDC and SA.
Apple’s iPhone shipments shrunk from 52.2 million in the quarter last year to what’s estimated to be between between 36 and 43 million (Apple recently stopped reporting iPhone sales in its earnings reports) for the same period this year. Samsung went from 78.2 million shipments to 71.9 million. In fact, without Huawei’s burgeoning growth, the smartphone market might aptly be described as experiencing its own form of recession. US carriers AT&T and Verizon last week reported that smartphone upgrades among their subscribers are at record lows, and other Chinese phone makers like Xiaomi and Oppo are mostly just holding steady with their sales numbers.
The goal for Huawei has always been to become the top smartphone vendor in the world, which seemed like overzealous optimism only a few months ago. As of today, it feels closer to an inevitability. Huawei forecasts it will get out ahead of Samsung by the end of this year, and if its aggressive rate of improvement continues, there’s little reason to doubt it’s capable of achieving that high goal.