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HUAWEI beat Samsung for the first time in April, has coronavirus to thank

It's HUAWEI's moment in the sun as it crosses Samsung to temporarily become the world's largest smartphone maker.

Published onJune 15, 2020

HUAWEI Mate 30 Pro HUAWEI Logo
  • HUAWEI briefly became the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer in April 2020.
  • The company surpassed Samsung by 2% market share, likely due to increased sales in China.
  • However, HUAWEI is reportedly expecting a 20% drop in sales in 2020.

Huawei surpassed Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone maker in April 2020. The company temporarily captured 19% of the global market share in April as per Counterpoint Research’s monthly Market Pulse report. In comparison, Samsung’s global smartphone market share dipped to 17%.

Wondering how HUAWEI made this happen without access to Google services? Counterpoint’s VP of Research, Neil Shah, said HUAWEI mainly benefitted from the China market where it has ramped up efforts since the infamous US trade ban. Shah also said the Chinese smartphone market is back to normal in terms of demand and supply, giving HUAWEI the much-needed sales boost.

Alex Mathew

Camera shootout: OnePlus 8 Pro vs Galaxy S20 Plus vs HUAWEI P40 Pro
HUAWEI P40 Pro vs OnePlus 8 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus cameras 1

Interestingly, the analyst noted smartphone sales in key Samsung markets such as India, US, Latin America, and parts of Europe almost fell to zero in April. All these regions were under a strict coronavirus-led lockdown at the time which is also why sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series have remained unconventionally low.

HUAWEI vs Samsung: Short-lived success?

This slight upturn in HUAWEI’s fortunes is a welcome one for the brand, but it may not last long. The company is reportedly expecting its sales to drop by as much as 20% in 2020, primarily due to the US trade ban and the lack of GMS on its phones. As if banning Google apps and services wasn’t enough, the US has also cut off HUAWEI’s access to its biggest chip supplier, TSMC, serving another potentially damaging blow to the company.

Meanwhile, HUAWEI’s smartphone sales are down almost 40% year-on-year in Europe, with Xiaomi biting at its heels.

Hopefully, the company can continue its winning streak in China to offset its declining prominence in other regions. According to IDC, HUAWEI’s early price promotions for the Mate 30 and P30 series, along with significant price cuts on HONOR’s V30 and 9X series, helped the company stay on top of the Chinese market in Q1 2020. Maybe HUAWEI can adopt a similar strategy to propel sales for its upcoming phones like the Mate 40 series.

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