As Apple & Samsung declined, Huawei's smartphone shipments exploded in 2018

As Apple & Samsung declined, Huawei's smartphone shipments exploded in 2018
The Mate 20 Pro – Huawei was the big winner last year

Last year was a pretty tough year in the smartphone world with all but Huawei and Xiaomi experiencing struggles at some point in the year. In fact, according to data from IDC, shipments declined 4.1%, thus marking the worst year ever for smartphones.

Overall, 1.404 billion devices were shipped throughout 2018. Once again, Samsung led the industry with sales of 292.3 million for the entire year and a market share of 20.8%. These figures are certainly impressive but do represent a sharp decline of 8% versus the 317.7 million devices it sold in 2017, according to IDC’s data. The company’s market share also dropped 0.9%.

Just over 80 million units behind Samsung was Apple with 208.8 million shipments for the year, just over 3% less than the 215.8 million units it sold the year before. Interestingly enough, though, its overall market share has actually grown 0.2% to 14.9%.

The unsurprising winner in 2018 was Huawei. Despite the political challenges it has faced recently, the company powered through and surpassed 200 million shipments for the first time. In fact, the total number of shipped devices sat at 206 million units, up almost 52 million and representing a market share of 14.7%.

As mentioned above, Huawei’s Chinese rival Xiaomi also saw strong growth throughout the year with a gain of almost 30 million units to 122.6 million. Rounding out the top was Oppo who dropped down into 5th place but did still see a slight increase in sales of 1.3% to 113.1 million.

Looking at the data from the recent October to December quarter, Samsung managed to maintain its number one position once again with 70.4 million units. However, it was followed very closely behind by Apple and Huawei. The latter experienced growth of almost 44% to 60.5 million while Apple saw its shipments decline 68.4 million units, according to IDC’s data.

This figure represents a drop of 11.5% or 8.9 million units. But interestingly enough, it's not quite as low as the 65.9 million units Strategy Analytics estimated yesterday.

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21 Comments

1. sissy246

Posts: 7120; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Huawei would over take Samsung if allowed to sale in the US.

2. OneLove123

Posts: 1099; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

You think Huawei is gonna sell 86million extra phones in america?

4. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1569; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

They don't need to sell 86million extra units, think about it for a moment, as Huawei sells more Samsung would sell less.

6. sissy246

Posts: 7120; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Exactly And not saying they would do it in a few months, but they would with in a couple years yes, i really think they would.

19. OneLove123

Posts: 1099; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

They way you were talking is in a year and not a couple of years. They would not sell 86million phones in the US within12months.

21. midan

Posts: 2915; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Why you are talking about US? You don't think their sales won't grow everywhere like it's been happening for few years. Huawei would need to sell around 60-70 million more phones this year to pass Samsung of course depending how Samsung is doing, but i'm expecting sales going down even more this year.

20. OneLove123

Posts: 1099; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

They did sell more but still 86 millions behind.

3. newbey123

Posts: 701; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

Huawei will most likely overtake Apple this year.

9. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

That's not even a question anymore, that's a given fact which was set to happen years ago actually. All these Chinese smartphones manufacturers make cheap phones on a daily basis and see them all over the world, people buy them just because they are so affordable knowing the clear cut difference between an iPhone and a Chinese phone (low quality, low privacy, low longevity, low performance etc etc) like that. So, your statement is not a surprise or some kind of achievement at all given how much different the ASP of Apple and Huawei. The real question we need to ask is how Apple managed to stayed on top, given their crazy iPhone prices, up until now??

18. OneLove123

Posts: 1099; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

I agree, Chinese made iPhones are very cheap quality.

5. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2215; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Huawei has done a remarkable job. It would take Huawei to sell over 700 million units in one year to compete with Apple's ASP. They essentially have to double the amount of sales to equal Apple's current sales volume. $250 vs $700 ASP you can see the difference.

7. sissy246

Posts: 7120; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Not talking about profits, talking about number of phone sold.

8. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2215; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Yes, but marketshare is only side of the equation...Yes marketshare growth can equal profitability. However, at a pace to keep up with Apple it will be very difficult. I wrote back 5 years ago, that Apple can sustain 190-200 millions year to year with flat growth and still maintain profits for the next 10 years. That's because of their services being a key driver of Apple's success, Huawei has a long way for them to sustain the same drive. They are on their way, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. The company that is worried is Samsung and not Apple.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31104; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Huawei is in storm mode. You can't help but give them credit.

11. whatev

Posts: 2285; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Not trolling, but just curious why if Samsung is dropping dramatically every year, all the analysts, blogs, youtubers and so on only talk about apple failing?

12. Vancetastic

Posts: 1385; Member since: May 17, 2017

Clicks. People always want to hear about the big guy failing. It’s weird, but it’s human nature, apparently.

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31104; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

100% true

14. phljcnth

Posts: 556; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Huawei's momentum will be short-lived. Easy come, easy go.

15. cmdacos

Posts: 4220; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Thanks for your expert opinion

17. mootu

Posts: 1525; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

"Huawei's momentum will be short-lived. Easy come, easy go." They said the same about Huawei's networking business. They are now the worlds no.1, have superior 5G tech and the US gov. is $hit scared of them.

16. Vokilam

Posts: 1221; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

The picture is only half truth. Is there a way to break those numbers into Average Selling Price. Is Huawey taking over $250 median, $600 median, or $900+ median? Units sold should be accompanied with ASP stats to see what’s really going on.

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