Huawei’s market share in China has halved in under a year

Huawei’s European smartphone business has been in freefall ever since it stopped releasing new devices with Google services support. Now, the latest market data shows that this freefall has spread to China.

Huawei is no longer the biggest smartphone brand in China

Manufacturers shipped a combined 90.7 million smartphones in China between January and March 2021. That’s a year-on-year increase of 36% for the period, although it’s worth noting that Q1 2020 was impacted by COVID-19.Huawei has been the leading brand in China for some years, but its reign has finally come to an end. Last quarter, Huawei held a market share of 16% in China, down from a high of over 30% in Q2 2020.

In that same quarter last year, Huawei also briefly surpassed Samsung as the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer by volume, achieving an internal goal that had been set before access to Google was revoked.

The most recent US trade sanctions, introduced in mid-September, seem to be the reason for Huawei’s dramatic fall from grace in its homeland. The company hasn’t been able to receive chips from TSMC or other suppliers since the sanctions came into force, so Huawei is now struggling to ship devices to customers and retailers.

Unless something changes, which is unlikely considering the Biden administration’s current stance, Huawei could soon be forced to pause smartphone shipments entirely.

Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi are absorbing Huawei’s share

All of this doom and gloom has been good for Huawei’s rivals, though. Vivo is now the market leader in China, with its share of shipments jumping from 17% a year ago to 24% in Q1 2021.

The company’s strategic camera partnership with ZEISS and the launch of the flagship Vivo X60 series have boosted its image in China, according to Counterpoint Research’s report.

Oppo followed closely behind Vivo with a 23% market share. It has benefited hugely from both the demand for 5G smartphones and a successful repositioning of its Reno series to offer more impressive hardware at lower price points.Huawei is currently the third-largest brand by volume, but Xiaomi is right behind in fourth place with a decent 15% share. Nothing was highlighted about Xiaomi’s performance, but it’s undoubtedly benefited from the switch to 5G too.

Apple once again completes the top 5, although this time its market share has gone from 9% in Q1 2020 to 13% in Q1 2021. These improved numbers can be attributed to the iPhone 12 series, which has been hugely successful in all regions. Whether the brand has benefited substantially from the downfall of Huawei is unclear, though.


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