Huawei Muscles Past Apple To Claim Second Place In Global Smartphone Shipments

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When it comes to the world of smartphones, Huawei has been kicking ass and taking names. IDC has released its latest global smartphone market share figures for Q1 2019, and they show a big shakeup in the smartphone rankings. While Samsung is still the world's #1 producer of smartphones, Apple's stunning iPhone sales shortfall coupled with Huawei's meteoric rise in sales (even without a presence in the U.S. market) have allowed it to slip into the second-place position.

Compared to Q1 2018, Samsung saw its shipments decline by 8.1 percent during Q1 2019 to a total of 71.9 million smartphones. Samsung's sales were buoyed by the recently launched Galaxy S10 family during Q1, which helped to stave off a bigger drop compared to the same period in 2018.

As for Apple, its shipments fell a substantial 30.2 percent according to IDC during Q1 2019 to 36.4 million units. While Apple's positioning in the U.S. market remains relatively strong (share wise) with the iPhone, its fortunes in China have especially been battered by domestic competition. The company has relied on both price cuts and highly lucrative trade-in deals to get Chinese consumers to upgrade, but competition from Huawei and the looming launch of 5G Android devices poses a real threat on the horizon.

idc smartphone shipments q1 2019

But the big news, of course, is with Huawei which saw its shipments increase a staggering 50 percent compared to the same period last year. Huawei's Q1 2019 market share stood at 19.1 percent versus 23.1 percent for Samsung. In unit numbers, Huawei shipped 59.1 smartphones during the quarter compared to 71.9 million for Samsung.

If Huawei continues on this trajectory, by this time next year -- and perhaps even before then according to Huawei’s own estimates -- it could displace Samsung as the top smartphone OEM in the world. "It is becoming increasingly clear that Huawei is laser focused on growing its stature in the world of mobile devices, with smartphones being its lead horse," said Ryan Reith, program vice president for IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

With that being said, the overall global smartphone market was down 6.6 percent during Q1 2019. "Consumers continue to hold on to their phones longer than before as newer higher priced models offer little incentive to shell out top dollar to upgrade," added IDC research manage Anthony Scarsella. "Moreover, the pending arrival of 5G handsets could have consumers waiting until both the networks and devices are ready for prime time in 2020."

Tell us what you think in the comments section. Are you on a regular upgrade cadence when it comes to smartphones, or are you holding on to your devices longer and longer (for whatever reason be it "adequate" performance of your current handset or ever-increasing pricing)?