For the first time, Huawei shipped more than a quarter more smartphones worldwide than any other company, according to a new one report from analyst firm Canalys. Huawei has long had ambitions to overtake Samsung as the world’s largest smartphone seller, and according to Canalys’ figures, that’s exactly what happened between April and June this year.
That doesn’t mean Huawei will remain in first place for long, as the results were clearly impacted by the ongoing pandemic. Canalys’ figure of 55.8 million Huawei smartphones has fallen by 5 percent from last year, while Samsung has fallen by 30 percent to 53.7 million. More than 70 percent of Huawei devices are now sold in China, which has not been hit as hard by COVID-19 as many of Samsung’s major markets. Samsung, meanwhile, is a small player in China.
“Our company has shown exceptional resilience in these difficult times,” Huawei said in a statement The edge. “Amidst a period of unprecedented global economic slowdown and challenges, we have continued to grow and further strengthen our leadership position by offering innovative products and experiences to consumers.”
“This is a remarkable result that few people would have predicted a year ago,” said Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton. “It wouldn’t have happened without COVID-19. Huawei has taken full advantage of the Chinese economic recovery to revive its smartphone business. ”
Despite impressive hardware, Huawei phones are now difficult to sell to most consumers outside of China because they don’t have access to Google services. It’s hard to see the company remaining at number 1 as global smartphone demand recovers; Samsung just said that next quarter expects better sales due to the launch of new flagship phones. But Huawei’s continued strength in China shows that external pressures are not yet an existential threat to its consumer businesses – at least not at home.