Huawei’s Q2 smartphone sales tumble in Europe

group of people with smartphones
Huawei smartphone shipments in Europe fell by 16% to 8.5 million units in Q2 2019, according to Canalys. (Getty Images)

Huawei experienced a sharp decline in smartphone shipments to European markets during the second quarter of 2019, as the China-based vendor’s performance outside its domestic market continued to suffer the effects of U.S. political opposition.

According to a report from market research company Canalys, Huawei smartphone shipments in Europe fell by 16% to 8.5 million units in the Q2 period, reducing its market share from 22.4% in Q2 2018 to 18.8% in the recent quarter. 

The vendor’s smartphone sales performance in Europe was in marked contrast to China: a separate Canalys report showed that Huawei smartphone shipments in its domestic market surged by 31% to 37.3 million units in Q2 2019, increasing its market share to 38.2% and firmly securing its position as the number one smartphone manufacturer in China. This was despite an overall 6% decrease in the Chinese smartphone market to 97.6 million units — the ninth consecutive quarterly decline. 

Canalys analyst Mo Jia said Huawei’s addition to the Entity List in the United States “caused uncertainty overseas, but in China it has kept its foot on the accelerator.” Jia added that Huawei is benefiting from the U.S.-China trade war in its domestic market by appealing to Chinese consumers to make the “patriotic choice” and has shifted its global mix back toward China with 64% of its Q2 smartphone shipments in its home market. The other top five smartphone vendors in China are Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and Apple.

RELATED: Commerce secretary confirms U.S. firms can sell to Huawei, with conditions

In Europe, the Chinese vendor remained in second place, ahead of Apple with 6.4 million shipments (-17%) and a 14.1% market share. However, Samsung and Xiaomi were the standout performers in Europe during Q2 2019: Canalys said the Korean supplier gained a 40% market share during the quarter after shipping 18.3 million smartphones (+20%). Xiaomi experienced the strongest growth of 48% and was in fourth place with 4.3 million shipments and a 9.6% market share. HMD Global brought up the rear with 1.2 million shipments (-18%).

Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton said Samsung had “obviously had enough of losing market share in Europe. For years, a focus on operating profit has stifled its product strategy. But this year, the shackles are off and winning back market share is its clear priority.”

Stanton added that Samsung has also been “quick to capitalize on Huawei’s U.S. Entity List problems, working behind the scenes to position itself as a stable alternative in conversations with important retailers and operators.” 

Jia also pointed out that Xiaomi is now a major force in Europe, noting that its focus remains on price-sensitive markets in the region. “It has also benefited from its early foray into 5G, which is helping foster new operator partnerships while the range of available 5G smartphones is limited,” Jia said. 

Meanwhile the recent Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker from IDC showed that Xiaomi and Samsung also continue to dominate the Indian market, taking first and second places respectively in Q2 2019. Xiaomi shipped 10.4 million smartphones (+4.8%) in the period, taking a 28.3% market share. Samsung shipments surged by 16.6% to 9.3 million units, increasing its market share to 25.3%. The other top five vendors in this region are Vivo, Oppo, and Realme. A total of 36.9 million smartphones were shipped to India in Q2 2019, up 9.9% over the previous year.