Huawei’s share in the global smartphone market reached its highest ever level of 17% during Q1 2019, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service.
The findings show that Huawei also overtook Apple as the second biggest smartphone brand in Q1 2019 as its volumes increased by nearly 50% year-on-year (YoY).
“Huawei became the second largest smartphone brand by shipments without a significant presence in an important market like the United States,” said research analyst, Shobhit Srivastava.
“It was also the fastest growing brand among the top 10. At this pace, we expect Huawei to remain ahead of Apple at the end of 2019.”
Srivastava said that Huawei has been helped by the pace of its innovations. It was the first to introduce features like reverse wireless charging, on-board AI, advanced camera, and more.
“A dual-brand (Honor) strategy has also helped Huawei build a connection to younger profile consumers and gain additional market share in a sluggish Chinese market,” he said.
“Huawei is now a match for Samsung in smartphone hardware. Like Samsung and Apple, Huawei also is becoming increasingly vertically integrated. We believe it is Huawei that Samsung should be worrying about rather than Apple.”
Overall, global smartphone shipments declined 5% YoY in Q1 2019. This is now the sixth consecutive quarter of shipments falling in the global smartphone market.
“The global smartphone market showed no sign of recovery in Q1 2019,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research.
“The rate of decline accelerated, particularly in February, due to inventory corrections by some brands and the production halt during Chinese New Year. Another reason for the decline is lengthening replacement cycles, especially in the premium segment.
“The replacement rate for iPhones is close to 36 months, while the replacement rate for premium Android devices is closing in on 30 months.
“This can be attributed to the higher quality of devices, increasing average selling prices (ASP), and the lack of innovation sufficient to motivate consumers to upgrade.”
Pathak said that manufacturers are hoping to convert the 5G and foldable display buzz into sales in 2019.
He also believes that premium features like punch hole cameras, full-screen displays, in-display fingerprint sensor, and on-board AI will continue to diffuse to the mid-segment at a rapid rate, potentially stimulating volume growth.
“However, Apple has signalled that hardware is merely a vehicle for delivering an improving service experience,” he said.