Huawei surpasses Apple in smartphone sales for the first time

The Chinese electronics firm sold 54 million units as against Apple's 41 million

Huawei surpasses Apple in smartphone sales for the first time

A Huawei Nova 2 smartphone is seen at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Spain | Image: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

Data from three separate research firms has found that smartphone maker Huawei has overtaken Apple in global sales for the first time.

The information was compiled by the International Data Corporation (IDC), Counterpoint Research and Canalys.

It shows smartphone vendors shipped a total of 342 million units during the second quarter of 2018 - a 1.8% decline when compared to the 348.2 million units shipped in the second quarter of last year.

The IDC says the drop marks the third consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines for the global smartphone market, and only the fourth quarter of decline in history.

Source: Canalys

It notes: "The arrival of Huawei in the second position marks the first quarter since 2Q10 where Apple has not been the number one or two smartphone company in terms of market share.

"Huawei delivered shipments of 54.2 million units to move into the second position with a record high market share of 15.8%. Samsung maintained a comfortable lead".

Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's worldwide mobile device trackers, says: "The continued growth of Huawei is impressive, to say the least, as is its ability to move into markets where, until recently, the brand was largely unknown.

"It is worth noting that Apple moved into the top position each of the last two holiday quarters following its product refresh, so it's likely we'll see continued movement among the top ranked companies in 2018 and beyond."

Source: Counterpoint Technology Market Research 

While Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, says: "Huawei had a good second quarter in 2018 as it shipped more smartphones than Apple to capture the second spot in the global smartphone rankings, after seven years of Apple-Samsung dominance.

"Huawei achieved this by launching smartphones in the premium segment and capturing the mid-tier segment with its fast-growing Honor sub-brand.

"Huawei with its Honor brand is offering a broad and recently refreshed portfolio at affordable prices that is driving growth in the overseas market.

"Honor, which is already strong in the e-commerce segment, is now adopting a multi-channel strategy through branded stores in the South East Asia market. We expect store counts to increase in the future."

And Canalys puts the "major milestone" for Huawei down to "strong sell-in of its latest flagship, the P20, which exceeded launch quarter sell-in of both the P10 and P9".