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Huawei defies US sanctions to achieve record smartphone shipments in Q3

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Huawei defied all odds to achieve record smartphones shipments in the third quarter of this year globally despite US sanctions.

For the third quarter, Huawei shipped record 66.8m devices and captured 17.6% market share after Samsung’s 20.6%.

In the third quarter, the market witnessed shipments reaching 380 million units compared to 379.8 million units a year ago.

Shobhit Srivastava, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research, told TechRadar Middle East, that Huawei captured a record 40% market share in the China market despite other players such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo registering a fall.

“The smartphone market in China is saturated but Huawei is pushing its own shipments to distributors in China and a lot of the Chinese players have become sentimental and patriotic about Huawei. Because of these factors, Huawei is growing and other Chinese players are taking a hit,” he said.

Jusy Hong, research and analysis director for IHS Markit, said that Huawei’s strong home-field performance more than compensated for its overseas sales, which fell due to US sanctions.

The launch of the Mate 30 series was the first sign of Huawei devices without Google services, he said and added that Huawei will face increasing difficulties in some markets if its new smartphone models cannot include Google services and, at the same time, Huawei will focus on existing models to defend its overseas market.

“Huawei Mate 30 may launch in certain European markets but with the price point and the features that go for the premium market, people with think twice before buying it,” Srivastava said.

Huawei Consumer Business Group announced last week that it has shipped 200m smartphones to date in 2019, 64 days earlier than the same shipment milestone last year.

Last year, Samsung shipped 292m devices, followed by Apple with 209m and Huawei with 206m.

Huawei’s 250m mark for 2019 in doubt

Counterpoint does not expect Huawei to register the same performance it had in the third quarter for the fourth quarter.

“It has high inventories in markets like Europe and China. Huawei will not be able to overtake Samsung this year and next year but it will become a clear number two player this year and next year, even if Huawei gets access to Google Mail Service,” Srivastava said.

He added that Samsung’s “A” and Note series are doing well and it is estimated to do well for the rest of the year.

Srivastava said that Samsung will ship 50m more devices than Huawei this year. Huawei is expected to ship between 235m and 241m devices for 2019 instead of Huawei’s own predictions of 250m.

Huawei has claimed to become the number one player this year by overtaking Samsung but it was before the sanctions.

In the fourth quarter also, Srivastava said that Samsung will be number one player but Huawei will be dethroned by Apple as number two player as its new iPhones are doing good in the US and China and users with iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are upgrading to iPhone 11.

“Apple’s price corrections in China and elsewhere with the iPhone 11 and XR, as well as introducing a new palette of colours, stimulated demand during the last week of September offsetting the sharp annual decline earlier months,” he said.

BBK Group (Oppo, Vivo, Realme, and OnePlus) is close to becoming the largest smartphone manufacturer globally, accounting for over 20% of the global smartphone market and three of its brands in the top 10.

Realme is new kid on the block

The rising brand in the industry is Realme and it is just a year old and it has become the fastest-growing smartphone brand globally.

It registered over 800% annual growth in the third quarter.

“It shipped over 10.2 million smartphones compared to 1.3m a year ago and came in 7th place in the global smartphone market for the first time. Out of the 10.2m, 8m came from India. It started in May 2018 and it was ranked 47th in the third quarter of last year and the second quarter of this year, it was ranked 10th.

“Realme started with a price point of below $250 like some Chinese players and the brand is not even one year old. It has become the seventh-largest smartphone manufacturer globally and leveraging the online segment, similar to what Xiaomi did, and they are also offering offline sales. Xiamoi took around five years to focus on offline segment. It is available in 20 countries,” he said.

Naushad K. Cherrayil