Huawei vs Apple vs Samsung in South Africa

New data from web analytics firm StatCounter shows that Huawei’s share of the smartphone market in South Africa has grown substantially over the past year.

The under fire mobile handset maker and technology group saw its share of the local market improve from 16.66% in May 2018, to 22.9% at the end of last month. This is up from an 11.26% market share in 2017.

Apple has also seen significant gains over the past year, from 11.17% to 14.87% since May 2018. The US phone maker slipped from a 16.27% share in November 2018, after it launched its iPhone Xs and Xr ranges in September and October last year.

Samsung remains the clear dominant player in South Africa, however, having increased  its market share from 43.66% in May 2018 to 43.71% in May 2019.


Data from research and advisory group, Gartner showed that globally, Huawei maintained its ranking as the No. 2 smartphone vendor, continuing to to reduce the gap with Samsung.

In the first quarter of 2019, Samsung retained the top spot in global smartphone sales achieving 19.2% market share. Huawei achieved the highest year-over-year growth among the world’s top five, growing 44.5% and smartphone sales totalling 58.4 million units.

Sales of Huawei smartphones grew in all regions. “Huawei did particularly well in two of its biggest regions, Europe and Greater China, where its smartphone sales grew by 69% and 33%, respectively,” Gartner said.

Huawei’s continued dominance in Greater China, where it commanded a 29.5% market share, helped it secure the No. 2 global smartphone vendor ranking in the first quarter of 2019.

Smartphone Sales by Vendor in 1Q19 (Thousands of Units)

Vendor 1Q19 Units 1Q19 Market Share 1Q18 Market Share
Samsung 71 621.1 19.2% 20.5%
Huawei 58 436.2 15.7% 10.5%
Apple 44 568.6 11.9% 14.1%
Oppo 29 602.1 7.9% 7.3%
Vivo 27 368.2 7.3% 6.1%
Others 141 405.2 37.9% 41.5%
Total 373 001.4 100% 100%

Trade war

Huawei has been caught up in a trade war between Donald Trump’s America with China. Last month US firm Google indefinitely suspended its business relationship with Huawei.

This means Huawei will no longer be able to offer new customers access to Google’s Android operating system while current Huawei customers will not be able to download future Android system updates.

South Africa’s Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association pointed out that Huawei has been granted some reprieve in the form of a three-month Android license. Huawei has also begun to refine its own operating system. Google also confirmed that all Huawei devices currently in use will still have access to Google Play which means continued app updates.

“Finally, Huawei could update all existing phones to the open source version of Android which is not impacted by the trade war between the US and China. Unfortunately, apps like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps would then only be available via web browser,” WASPA said.

Read: Huawei now offers free service days for all South African customers – here’s what is included

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Huawei vs Apple vs Samsung in South Africa