Huawei sanctions hoist Apple back up to second place in smartphone shipments

Smartphone shipments - iPhone

The iPhone maker still hasn’t caught up to Samsung, but it overtook the Chinese device giant.

Apple has now overtaken Huawei in smartphone shipments, reclaiming the second spot in the world for 2020, according to Canalys and Counterpoint Research reports.

Samsung remains the top seller when measured by the number of units shipped around the globe.

The next three smartphone shipments places are held by Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo, said the Counterpoint report. This new ranking is the direct result of the wide-reaching sanctions put into place against Huawei and its products.

At about this time last year, the same research analyses were reporting that Huawei’s sales had taken off and that company had stolen the second place rank from Apple in 2019. However, US sanctions appear to have had a devastating impact on Huawei’s worldwide rank. Last year, Huawei’s number of units shipped had dropped by 21 percent compared to the year before, said Counterpoint data. This sent Huawei down from the second position right out of the top five during last year’s Q4. This represents the first time in six years that the Chinese company’s rank wasn’t within the top 5, said Canalys analysts.

Domestic sales in China made it possible for Huawei to hold on to the majority of its smartphone shipments.

Most of the brand’s sales last year were within China, whereas in 2019, a reported 70 percent of its phones were sent out of the country. Another Chinese brand, Xiaomi, saw its opportunity last year and was able to snag an additional 17 percent in shipments when compared to units sold in 2019.

That said, the brand that achieved the fastest growth rate last year was Realme, according to the two analysis companies. Realme was able to sell 65 percent more units in 2020 than it had in 2019.

While Apple did manage to hop right back into its old second place spot, its sales growth was quite modest. According to Counterpoint Research, it saw a 3 percent Smartphone shipments - iPhoneincrease in sales, while Canalys reported an increase in Apple sales of 5 percent. Canalys indicated that the majority of the iPhone makers smartphone shipments occurred in the last quarter of 2020.

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