In brief: Samsung and Apple regularly sit in the top two spots on the 'largest smartphone vendor' list, but Huawei has just overtaken the iPhone maker. Overall, the market saw yet another decline, though IDC believes it will eventually bounce back.
Huawei hasn’t had the best 2018 in terms of its US ventures. Not only did partnership talks with AT&T and Verizon collapse, but it also faced the ire of US intelligence chiefs who warned against using devices from the company. However, it seems none of this affected the firm's business, as it has now surpassed Apple to become the second-largest smartphone seller in the world.
IDC’s latest report shows that Huawei shipped 54.2 million smartphones in Q2 2018, giving the Chinese giant its largest ever market share of 15.8 percent. It shipped almost 13 million more handsets than Apple, which slipped to third place on the list.
IDC writes that Huawei’s success can be attributed to its dominance in the Chinese market and the release of new technologies such as the GPU Turbo.
As usual, Samsung remains at the top of the pack, despite its shipments falling 10 percent YoY to 71.5 million units. In its most recent financial report, the Korean giant blamed falling revenue on slower-than-expected Galaxy S9 sales.
It was bad news for the smartphone market as a whole, which saw a third consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines. IDC put this down to increased penetration rates and saturation but added that some markets are still showing growth. Worldwide shipments should return to overall growth in time, it added.
"Consumers remain willing to pay more for premium offerings in numerous markets and they now expect their device to outlast and outperform previous generations of that device which cost considerably less a few years ago. To contest this slowdown, vendors will need to focus on new innovative features and form factors combined with incentives and promotions to drive growth in many of these highly competitive markets moving forward," writes IDC.
While this looks concerning for Apple, Huawei’s position is likely to be short-lived. The arrival of the new iPhones will give Cupertino a considerable boost, more so if the rumored dual-SIM feature turns out to be accurate; the functionality should make the handsets extremely popular in overseas markets.