Huawei did indeed dethrone Samsung as the world's leading smartphone manufacturer in the second quarter of 2020.
After narrowly outperforming Samsung in April and May of this year, many analyses predicted that Huawei would not be able to confirm this lead. It was assumed that Huawei's brief stint at the top was essentially circumstantial and that it would surely lose its lead in June.
According to a study published Thursday, July 30, by the Canalys firm, Huawei has thus confirmed its first place over the whole of the second quarter of 2020 (Q2 2020). According to the researcher, this is the first time in nearly a decade that a company other than Samsung or Apple has topped a quarterly list of global smartphone sales.
A growth sustained by its domestic market
While businesses are struggling to maintain momentum during the pandemic, few have been able to weather the storm. For Huawei, it was a double whammy with the consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak adding to those of the U.S. embargo. But as China was one of the first countries to recover from the first wave, Huawei's activities in its domestic market have greatly boosted its growth.
So much so that Huawei's sales in China account for 72% of its total smartphone sales in Q2 2020. In Q1 2020, this share was limited to 61% and 51% in the first quarter.
In Q2 2020, Huawei therefore shipped only 28% of its units abroad. According to Canalys, Huawei's sales outside of China declined by 27% over the same period. A drop that the Chinese giant had anticipated at the beginning of the year.
In comparison, Samsung has less than 1% market share in China. And its global sales dropped 30% in the second half of 2020. In terms of total units sold, Huawei would have seen 55.8 million units leave its factories in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 53.7 million units for Samsung.
We'll just have to see what impact the launch of Samsung Mobile's new products will have, or not, at the Galaxy Unpacked conference on August 5th.