According to numbers from Counterpoint Research, Huawei sold more handsets than Apple in 2019. Only Samsung sold more smartphones than the Chinese manufacturer for the same period.
The latest numbers from Counterpoint Research show that Apple did rally during the last quarter of 2019. In fact, for the fourth quarter of 2019, Apple actually sold more smartphones than any other manufacturer.
Apple benefitted from the September release of the iPhone 11 and its various variants. The strong sales of the iPhone 11 were influenced by many users finding better value from the latest line-up of Apple smartphones.
Why did Apple lose the battle?
Apple users are typically taking longer to upgrade their handsets. The smaller annual improvements in technology are making the standard two-year replacement cycle less compelling for consumers.
It would be interesting to find out what percentage of iPhone 11 buyers upgraded from the iPhone 8 or even older handsets. Huawei have very impressively survived possibly the most challenging year in its history.
Despite Apple’s resurgence and Trump’s best attempts to hamper Huawei’s growth, the company still managed to see out 2019 in slightly better shape than it started it.
Huawei success despite US-China trade war
The Chinese manufacture managed to increase its market share from 14% to 16% during the last year; with Apple’s market share declining from 14% to 13%.
Huawei managed all this despite having to cancel the launch of its newest phones outside China. In addition, the lack of Google apps and services further impacted the public confidence in the brand.
Huawei’s success was due in large part due to its positive performance in China. The company benefited from the fact that Google apps and services are not allowed on Chinese handsets.
Approximately 60% of Huawei’s sales last year were made in China; which is hardly surprising with its flagship Mate 30 Pro and Mate X only releasing in China only.
What does the future hold for Huawei?
Many Chinese consumers probably also would have been happy to show support to Huawei with the Trump government throwing its weight around in its trade dealings with the country.
If not for the trade ban, which means Google can no longer do business with Huawei, 2019 could well have been the year Huawei started to challenge Samsung as the top smartphone manufacturer.
Huawei managed to survive in 2019; but it will be critical to see if they can find a workable solution to their lack of Google apps and services that allows them to ship their new handsets.
The quality of their smartphones that were released before the trade ban has carried them as far as it can and they will need to get their next generation of hardware into the market soon if they are to continue to grow.