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Global smartphone market: Huawei beats Apple to second spot in 2019

Feb 4, 2020 by The Passage Team
Global smartphone market: Huawei beats Apple to second spot in 2019

2019 brought both innovations, 5G, folding displays, but also an uncertain trade and political climate. Commenting on the global market dynamics, Varun Mishra, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research noted, “There have been growing tensions among several countries that have impacted the smartphone market. For example, the US pressure on Huawei, and tensions between Japan-Korea that led to uncertainties in the memory market. Supply chains have been upset, causing various companies to rethink their strategies and reduce dependence on single markets. 2020 will likely see efforts to further diversify investments across geographies to mitigate risks. The current coronavirus outbreak in China is the latest issue to threaten supply chains.”

Despite the sanctions, Huawei surpassed Apple to become the second-largest brand in 2019. This was the result of an aggressive push from Huawei in the Chinese market, where it achieved almost 40% market share. China accounted for over 60% of Huawei’s total shipments. Outside China, Huawei is trying to continue selling its older devices. But with rising competition, its value proposition is being gradually undermined. And while Huawei is working on its own operating system, it will almost impossible for it to compete with Android anywhere outside China.

Within the quarter however, after two-year, Apple gained the top spot in the Global Smartphone Market. This was driven by the iPhone 11 series beating expectations. iPhone revenues were up year-on-year for the first time since September 2018.

Within the quarter however, after two-year, Apple gained the top spot in the Global Smartphone Market. This was driven by the iPhone 11 series beating expectations. iPhone revenues were up year-on-year for the first time since September 2018.

We also saw smartphone brands changing their strategies in 2019 to gain market share. For example, Samsung revamped its A series, giving a push to the mid-segment. Apple launched its iPhone 11, with multiple cameras, at a lower price than its predecessor. At the same time, Apple increased its focus on services. Chinese OEMs expanded into new markets in 2019, especially Europe. 5G provided an opportunity for OEMs to gain mindshare by launching industry-first “5G-capable” devices in markets that were early to launch 5G services.

Smartphone makers also brought several innovations in 2019 paving the way for what will be mainstream in future. Foldable displays, punch hole displays, higher megapixel cameras, higher refresh rate displays, in-display sensors, optical zoom, and super-fast charging to name a few. Some features were quickly adopted across the price range, giving consumers a variety of capable smartphones to choose from at affordable prices.

Commenting on the adoption of 5G and the market outlook Research Analyst, Abhilash Kumar added, “2019 also saw the deployment and initial adoption of 5G, especially in the US, Europe, China, and Korea. With chipset players, operators and OEMs all preparing aggressively for 2020 and working towards bringing the prices of 5G down, the foundation for the 2020 growth has already been laid. The transition from 4G to 5G in the developed markets and the continued transition from 3G to 4G, feature phones to smartphones and upgrades will lead the smartphone market to grow in the coming year”.

The Passage Team

The Passage is committed to creating in-depth content over technology industry across Asia with a focus on emerging startups in the technology, healthcare, education, food, tech, travel & mobility segments.

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