Samsung continues to be the world’s top smartphone maker, at least in terms of shipments. But according to new reports out this week from IDC and Strategy Analytics, Apple has dropped from second to third place.
It was displaced by Chinese phone maker Huawei, which shipped 54 million phones during the second quarter of 2018. That’s up from about 38 million during the same period last year.
According to both research firms, here’s the latest ranking of smartphone makers, by shipment volumes:
There are some discrepancies between the two reports on exact shipment numbers, but both agree on a few things. First, Huawei has surpassed Apple. Second, overall shipments for the quarter were down a bit year-over-year. And while Samsung is still way out ahead of every other company, Samsung also shipped about 10 percent fewer phones in Q2 2018 than it did in Q2 2017. Does that mean the company is vulnerable? I have no idea. As Huawei’s 40 percent year-over-year growth shows, anything is possible in this space.
Huawei has been putting out some of the more interesting smartphones we’ve seen in recent years. The Huawei P20 Pro is one of the first phones with 3 rear cameras. And the Honor Play and Honor Note 10 include new “GPU Turbo” and “CPU Turbo” features.
Huawei also offers a range of high-end and mid-range products, and like Apple (and to some degree Samsung), the company exerts more control over its phones than many competitors because Huawei designs the Kirin processors used for its phones.
Meanwhile, rival Chinese company Xiaomi also saw 49 percent year-over-year growth in smartphone shipments, despite not yet selling phones in the US market, while Apple only saw a 0.7 increase. So maybe Samsung isn’t the only company that could lose its place in the rankings.
Keep in mind, we’re only talking about shipments here… which are not the same things as sales or profits. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple is still making more money on its smartphone sales than some of the other companies that are shipping lower-priced devices with slimmer profit margins… even if those companies are shipping more units than Apple.
Maturity in the Chinese market. Chinese consumers are realizing that when they buy an off-brand phone they are usually not getting software updates and are buying an inferior product. It is not strange that Chinese consumers are buying trusted brands now.
Kudos to Huawei and Xiaomi for keeping their quality good.
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