Chinese manufacturer Huawei shipped more smartphones in the second quarter of this year than any other company, marking the first time it's ever overtaken Samsung. The figures come from technology analyst company Canalys
, which attributes the dramatic change to a global fall in sales caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.Huawei
shipped 55.8 million units in Q2 2020, compared to 53.7 million from Samsung. However, both companies' worldwide shipments were down year-on-year. Apple was in third place, shipping 45.1 million iPhones. Xiaomi came fourth, with 28.8 million units, and Oppo was fifth, shipping 25.8 million units. Apple was the only company in the top five showing a year-on-year increase.
Huawei's overall shipments were down 5% year on year, according to Canalys. Overseas shipments from Huawei fell 27% in Q2 but domestic shipments rose by 8%. The company currently sells over 70% of its smartphones in mainland China.
Ben Stanton, a Senior Analyst at Canalys, said "This is a remarkable result that few people would have predicted a year ago. If it wasn’t for COVID-19, it wouldn’t have happened. Huawei has taken full advantage of the Chinese economic recovery to reignite its smartphone business. Samsung has a very small presence in China, with less than 1% market share, and has seen its core markets, such as Brazil, India, the United States and Europe, ravaged by outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns."
However, Canalys Analyst Mo Jia pointed out that Huawei's position is far from guaranteed. "Taking first place is very important for Huawei. It is desperate to showcase its brand strength to domestic consumers, component suppliers and developers. It needs to convince them to invest, and will broadcast the message of its success far and wide in the coming months. But it will be hard for Huawei to maintain its lead in the long term. Its major channel partners in key regions, such as Europe, are increasingly wary of ranging Huawei devices, taking on fewer models, and bringing in new brands to reduce risk. Strength in China alone will not be enough to sustain Huawei at the top once the global economy starts to recover."