Huawei became the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer in the second quarter of 2020, but three months later Samsung had replaced it as the leader. Fast forward another six months and Huawei’s shipments nosedived.
Huawei’s smartphone shipments nosedived in Q1 2021
The Shenzhen-based brand accounted for only 4% of global smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2021, according to newly released market data from Counterpoint Research. That’s down from a record high of 20% nine months earlier and marks only the second time in three years that Huawei’s global smartphone market share has registered below 10%.It’s worth mentioning that Huawei sold its Honor sub-brand in late 2020. These latest numbers from Q1 2021 are the first not to include Honor’s shipments in the total, so it’s not a completely fair comparison.
Nevertheless, Huawei smartphone shipments always accounted for most of the demand and a sharp downward trend is clearly visible regardless of the Honor spinoff implications. Huawei, without Honor, was the sixth-largest smartphone manufacturer in Q1 2021, though it’ll soon fall even further behind.
Realme also held a 4% market share and was close to overtaking the former number one. But unlike the former number one, Realme still has access to Google’s services and has a thriving smartphone business outside of China.
Crucially, Realme also has access to 5G chipsets from Qualcomm and MediaTek. Huawei doesn’t, which is why the brand recently showcased its next-gen P50 flagships but didn’t provide a firm release date.
Which brands dominated: by region
Also included in today’s report is a brief breakdown of smartphone brand performance by region in terms of shipments.
Apple dominated in North America. It accounted for an incredible 55% of shipments in the first quarter despite experiencing a seasonal sales drop. Samsung followed in second place with an impressive 28%.
The remaining 17% of market share was mainly split between three companies — LG, Motorola, and Alcatel. LG accounted for 7% of shipments, though it’s now weeks away from permanently exiting the market.
Motorola followed with 5% of the segment and Alcatel held 1%. It’ll remain to be seen which companies absorb LG’s sales share over the coming quarters.
Samsung was the most successful brand in Europe with a fantastic 37% slice of shipments. Apple followed in a distant second with 24%, and Xiaomi added another 19% to the total.
Oppo was number four with a 4% share in Europe and Realme’s shipments accounted for 2%.
Samsung dominated this region too. It shipped 42% of all smartphones in Q1 2021, almost doubling the market share of second-place Motorola (22%). Xiaomi followed in third place with 8%, LG was fourth with 6%, and ZTE completed the top 5 with 4%.
Asia is where things really differ. Vivo was the most popular brand with an 18% share, fellow BBK brand Oppo followed in a close second with 17%, and Xiaomi achieved a 16% market share.
Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy models each accounted for 12% of shipments.
The Middle East and Africa
The final region on Counterpoint’s list was also led by Samsung, with a 26% share. Lesser-known Tecno came in second place with 11% and Xiaomi was third with 10%. Itel held 9% of the market and Oppo accounted for 6% of shipments.