Huawei Closing in Fast on Apple in Smartphone Sales According to Latest Estimate

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei aims to become the world's largest smartphone maker by 2021, ahead of both Apple and Samsung, and the latest market share data suggests it continues to make progress towards that goal.

Huawei P10

Huawei P10

Huawei shipped an estimated 38.4 million smartphones in the June quarter, a 20 percent increase over a year ago, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. By comparison, Apple reported it sold 41 million iPhones in the same period, up nearly 2 percent from 40.4 million iPhones in the year-ago quarter.

Huawei's market share rose to an estimated 10.7 percent in the quarter, putting the Chinese company well within striking distance of Apple's estimated 11.4 percent market share in the quarter. Samsung continued to lead the market with a 22.1 percent share of shipments, according to Strategy Analytics.

smartphone shipments q3 2017 strategy analytics
"Huawei is now closing in fast on Apple and Apple will be looking nervously over its shoulder in the next few quarters," said Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics. "Huawei is outperforming across Asia, Europe and Africa with popular Android models such as the P10 and Mate 9."

Beyond the iPhone sales numbers, officially reported by Apple, it is important to acknowledge that these are estimated figures, and shipments within distribution channels do not necessarily reflect sales to customers. Apple also captures the vast majority of profits in the smartphone industry.

Third Place

Since 2011, the worldwide smartphone market has been dominated by Apple and Samsung. The elusive third-best spot, meanwhile, has failed to be held down by one vendor for an extended period of time, changing hands between Nokia, BlackBerry, Xiaomi, and Huawei over the past six years.

In 2014, it looked like low-priced Chinese vendor Xiaomi had firmly cemented its position as the world's third-largest smartphone maker, but due to a limited retail presence and declining popularity, Huawei is now firmly in the driver's seat.

Huawei has been making an aggressive push into several European markets, and it's even testing the North American market after launching its smartphones in Canada in June. Huawei isn't well known in the United States, however, largely because it lacks agreements with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

American customers have to resort to retailers such as Best Buy or Walmart, or Huawei's direct sales website, to purchase one of their unlocked smartphones, reducing the brand's visibility in a country where Apple and Samsung reign supreme.

If Huawei can find success in Canada, then perhaps it will consider tackling the much larger market south of the border next.

Apple's Decline in China

Apple reported revenue of $8 billion in Greater China in the June quarter, a 10 percent decrease compared to the year-ago quarter, and some analysts believe that's partly due to the iPhone's declining popularity in the country.

iPhone market share in China fell to 9 percent in the first six months of 2017, from a peak of 14 percent in 2015, according to Counterpoint Research. iPhone was only the fifth best selling smartphone in China during the June quarter, behind other Chinese rivals like Oppo and Xiaomi, research firm Canalys said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook didn't have much to say on iPhone in China during its post-earnings conference call on Tuesday, but he did comment on the growing popularity of messaging app WeChat, developed by Tencent, in the country.

"In terms of WeChat, the way I look at this is, because iOS share is not nearly a majority of the market in China, the fact that a lot of people use that… it makes the switching opportunity even greater," said Cook. "I think that's more the case than the risk that a lot of folks have pointed out."

"I see Tencent as one of our biggest and best developers," added Cook, who remains optimistic about China. "They have done a great job of implementing iOS features into their apps, and we are looking forward to working with then even more to build even greater experiences for our mutual users in China."

The focus now shifts to the fall, when both Apple and Huawei are expected to unveil new flagship smartphones. Huawei reportedly said its upcoming Mate 10 handset will be able to compete better than ever with the so-called iPhone 8.

Top Rated Comments

meaning-matters Avatar
66 months ago
Design of various Android phones is nicer. But Apple rules with iOS, much higher quality, and by far the best service.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zirel Avatar
66 months ago
Another meaningless metric.

What’s the ASP of Huawei phones?

Oh, you don’t say, don’t you?

Wonder why...

What happens when you multiply the ASP of each brand with the number of devices sold? Hmmm.....

And what happens if one brand or another gets caught in a problem like defective exploding batteries (happened with Samsung, can happen with anyone), how much phones Apple will need to replace, and Huawei, do they have money for that liability?

And Android? With ALL THAT HUMOUNGOUS marketshare, what is happening with captivating developers? With Mac vs Windows, Apple struggled and still struggles because there weren’t enough software for Mac (eg games, CAD software, etc.), but with mobile, AppAnnie just announced that the AppStore went from +90% of developer revenue than the PlayStore to now +95%.

Throwing sand at the eyes...
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
newyorksole Avatar
66 months ago
Ahhh so they SHIPPED 38M, versus what Apple SOLD. Gotchya!
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kodos Avatar
66 months ago
Regardless of what Huawei does -- the news for Apple is this: revenue is down in China, while the China market grows.

Not a great sign after so much effort being exerted to penetrate the Chinese market. As much as a lot of us like the idea of the total ecosystem that Apple brings to the device, for a lot of people the spec sheet speaks louder, especially if the price is lower. In places where WhatsApp is probably central for messaging even Facetime (something that locks people to iOS in the States) doesn't really draw you to Apple.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
66 months ago
Ahhh so they SHIPPED 38M, versus what Apple SOLD. Gotchya!
Shipped and sold means the same thing in these reports.

Apple, like most everyone else (*), reports a sale when a unit is shipped to a retailer.

So when you read that Apple sold 40 million iPhones, it does not mean they were all sold to end users. Most were sold to retailers. And some quarters, millions of those go unsold until the next quarter.

(*) Samsung reports the sale AFTER the unit arrives at a retailer. By reporting earlier, at time of shipping, Apple can publicize bigger sales numbers during opening weekends while millions of units are still on the way to stores.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gnipgnop Avatar
66 months ago
Apple has the edge on brand recognition but Huawei has better design, quality and value that's why the local Chinese phones are outselling the foreign Chinese phones like iPhones.
Better design and quality? Where's Huawei's OS? Where's Huawei's custom SoCs? You can't omit those things from design and quality considerations. Huawei doesn't even attempt to include them.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Predicted to Start With Increased 256GB Storage Alongside Rumored Price Increase

Wednesday August 10, 2022 11:14 am PDT by
Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed iPhone 14 Pro models will be more expensive than iPhone 13 Pro models. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing, but he said that the average selling price of all four iPhone 14 models will increase by about 15% overall. While higher prices would be disappointing for customers, it is possible the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will offer increased...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
z fold 4 1

Hands-On With Samsung's Latest Foldable Smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip

Friday August 12, 2022 12:46 pm PDT by
Samsung this week launched its fourth-generation foldable devices, the $1,000 Galaxy Z Flip and the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold. Though there's no sign of a comparable Apple foldable device on the horizon, rumors suggest prototypes are in the works, so we thought we'd take a look at Samsung's newest smartphones to see what Apple needs to measure up to when a foldable iPhone does come out. Subscribe ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro: Analyst Believes Storage Will Continue to Start at 128GB Despite Rumored Price Increase

Friday August 12, 2022 7:04 am PDT by
It wouldn't be the month before an iPhone launch without a few back-and-forth rumors, with the latest debate concerning iPhone 14 Pro storage. iPhone 14 Pro render by Ian Zelbo While research firm TrendForce forecasted that iPhone 14 Pro models could start with an increased 256GB of storage, Haitong International analyst Jeff Pu today forecasted that the upcoming Pro models will continue to...