Huawei will definitely push Apple into third place in the global smartphone race, becoming the world's second-largest handset maker in 2019, according to a recent projection and analysis conducted by TrendForce. The firm chalks up the change to Apple's rising prices and failure to provide competition in the Chinese market. While the shift could be made worse by increased tension between the region and the US, it isn't solely attributable to a home field advantage either, while the new report comes shortly after other industry watchers already said they believe Huawei outperformed Apple in the second half of 2018.
For 2018, TrendForce notes that Huawei managed an increase of 30% in production units rounding out at 205 million smartphones but that figure could be as high as 225 million. That would give it a global market share of around 16-percent. Apple maintained its status in the region throughout the first half of the year but saw an overall production decrease of around 3-percent year-over-year, accented by a decline of around 10 million units in China alone.
TrendForce says that trend follows Huawei's decision to improve on its in-house Kirin chipsets and its more comprehensive range of devices serving different demographics and price ranges. Several Apple products were also banned in the region and the increased price of iPhones coupled with only moderate improvements is making the handsets less appealing for short-term upgrades.
Lowered expectations are Huawei's gain
Huawei's gains in the market are offset by expectations of yet another poor year for smartphone sales in general. The smartphone market is predicted to fall by 3.3-percent in 2019 compared to 2018 but that may actually be fueling growth for Huawei. That's because the decline isn't occurring evenly across all segments of the market.
Amid the continued drop in sales in last year, Samsung's shipments fell approximately 8-percent year-over-year. Recent reports from IDC have aligned with TrendForce too, marking Samsung's lack of new entries in the budget and mid-range as weak points in its China strategy. While Apple is having difficulty competing at the top, Samsung is facing challenges from Huawei and other Chinese manufacturers in lower tiers where the competition is only increasing.
Huawei's strategy moving into 2019 is expected to focus on maintaining its growth in China while using similar strategies to its China approach in regions of Europe and South America. Huawei's high-value, low-cost take on devices, combined with the ongoing plateau of smartphone shipments and sales, offers the company an opportunity to replicate its model elsewhere while competing brands struggle to hold consumer interest.
Allegations of spying that have been vehemently denied by Huawei and the arrest of several key executives could dampen the companies prospects as the trade war continues. It does seem likely that Huawei will continue its upward trend regardless.
An invasion of Chinese smartphones
Following on the trends being set by Huawei, other Android manufacturers are predicted to continue doing well through 2019 and will maintain their fourth, fifth, and sixth position in global market share.
Oppo and Vivo's gains were relatively flat with 70-percent of their revenues generated in China in 2018 and the companies are predicted to focus mostly on keeping their holdings in the global market. Their total market share is expected to land at 8-percent and 7-percent respectively by year end. Xiaomi gained 32-percent over its share in 2017 for last year. Xiaomi's progress into this year is predicted by the analysts to follow its aggressive move into the Indian and European markets, utilizing its Xiaomi, Redmi, Blackshark, and POCO brands. It's expected to end 2019 with 129 million units shipped compared to 123 million in 2018.