Huawei brought low

Huawei has dropped out of the five best-selling smartphone brands worldwide and out of the top five in its home country, China.

IDC’s market data shows that Huawei has dropped into the “Other” category on the worldwide smartphone sales rankings, with Apple dropping to third, conceding second place to Xiaomi.

Samsung still takes the top spot with a sales share of 18.8%, but Xiaomi’s immense climb from 10.3% to 16.9% shows that the Chinese brand has firmly taken hold of the market share that Huawei has lost.

The drop in Huawei’s worldwide sales was precipitated by the US Department of Commerce placing the company on its Entities List.

This effectively banned US companies from doing business with Huawei.

Top 5 Smartphone Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q2 2021 (shipments in millions of units)
Company 2Q21 Shipment Volumes 2Q21 Market Share 2Q20 Shipment Volumes 2Q20 Market Share Year-Over-Year Change
1. Samsung 59.0 18.8% 54.0 19.5% 9.3%
2. Xiaomi 53.1 16.9% 28.5 10.3% 86.6%
3. Apple 44.2 14.1% 37.6 13.6% 17.8%
4. OPPO 32.8 10.5% 24.0 8.7% 37.0%
5. Vivo 31.6 10.1% 23.7 8.6% 33.7%
Others 92.4 29.5% 109.0 39.4% -15.2%
Total 313.2 100.0% 276.6 100.0% 13.2%
Source: IDC Quarterly Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, July 28, 2021

As a result of the ban, new Huawei devices were initially restricted from using Google’s ecosystem including apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and even the Google Play Store.

Ultimately, Google had to completely revoke Huawei’s Android licence and prevent the company from using its smartphone platform.

Huawei’s drop in worldwide sales should therefore not come as a huge surprise, as both Android and Google services were a critical component of its devices.

While Huawei offered a workaround to the restrictions to allow its customers to still use services like Gmail and YouTube, users have chosen to avoid the inconvenience.

Instead, the data shows that smartphone buyers have switched to devices with established integrated ecosystems — whether iPhone or alternative Android devices.

It is interesting to note that Huawei has also fallen from grace in its home market, even though its lack of access to Google services was expected to have less of an impact in China.

While Huawei’s former sub-brand Honor holds onto fifth place, it saw a dramatic reduction in market share over the past year. Huawei sold Honor in 2020 as a result of the pressure US sanctions placed on the company.

The IDC stated that the shifting landscape is because innovation is no longer the driving force in the midrange and high-end smartphone business

Companies are now competing to provide a favourable brand image that users can relate to, instead of going into a product battle of which company has the best software and hardware.

China Top 5 Smartphone Companies, Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q2 2021 (shipments in millions of units)
Company 2Q21 Shipment Volumes 2Q21 Market Share 2Q20 Shipment Volumes 2Q20 Market Share Year-Over-Year Change
1. Vivo 18.6 23.8% 15.0 17.1% 23.6%
2. Oppo 16.5 21.1% 14.1 16.0% 17.3%
3. Xiaomi 13.4 17.2% 9.1 10.4% 47%
4. Apple 8.6 10.9% 7.3 8.3% 17.0%
5. Honor 6.9 8.9% 12.9 14.7% -46.0%
Others 14.1 18.1% 29.4 33.5% -51.9%
Total 78.1 100.0% 87.8 100.0% 11.0%
Source: IDC Quarterly China Mobile Phone Tracker, July 28, 2021

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Huawei brought low