Huawei down, LG out, but smartphone market on the up

Omdia reports 28.1% year-on-year increase in smartphone shipments in Q1, but Huawei's market share tanks to 4%.

Ken Wieland, contributing editor

April 29, 2021

6 Min Read
Huawei down, LG out, but smartphone market on the up

The smartphone OEM rankings ain't what they used to be.

Huawei, barely 12 months ago, had an 18% share of the global smartphone shipment market. It was second only to Samsung, which grabbed a 22% slice.

Figure 1: All change: In the same we way no longer crowd together at concerts, the mobile phone market has also changed thanks to COVID-19. (Source: Gian Cescon on Unsplash) All change: In the same we way no longer crowd together at concerts, the mobile phone market has also changed thanks to COVID-19.
(Source: Gian Cescon on Unsplash)

One year on, after selling its mass-market Honor business in the wake of US-led supply chain sanctions, Huawei languishes in sixth position with a diminished 4% share.

This was one of the findings, although not entirely surprising, from the Q1 2021 global smartphone OEM rankings provided by Omdia, a Light Reading sister company.

Ups and downs

With Huawei's smartphone star seemingly on the wane, other Chinese OEMs, helped along by a buoyant domestic market, are on the up.

Rank

OEM

1Q21

4Q20

1Q20

QoQ

YoY

Shipment

M/S

Shipment

M/S

Shipment

M/S

1

Samsung

76.1

22%

62

16%

58.9

21%

22.80%

29.20%

2

Apple

56.4

16%

84.5

22%

38.5

14%

-33.30%

46.50%

3

Xiaomi

49.5

14%

47.2

12%

27.8

10%

4.90%

78.30%

4

vivo

38.2

11%

34.5

9%

19.5

7%

10.70%

95.90%

5

Oppo

37.8

11%

34

9%

20.4

7%

11.10%

85.30%

6

Huawei

14.7

4%

33

9%

49

18%

-55.50%

-70.00%

7

Motorola

12.6

4%

9.8

3%

5.5

2%

28.60%

128.10%

8

Realme

11.4

3%

14.3

4%

6.1

2%

-20.30%

86.90%

9

Tecno

8.2

2%

7.7

2%

3.5

1%

6.50%

133.40%

10

LG

6.8

2%

8.4

2%

5.4

2%

-18.90%

26.20%

Others

41.3

12%

46.4

12%

41.1

15%

-11.00%

0.60%

Total

353

100%

381.8

100%

275.7

100%

-7.50%

28.10%

Xiaomi climbed from fourth spot (Q1 2020) into third, growing its market share from 10% to 14%. Its shipments, year-on-year, grew by a staggering 78.3%, to 49.5 million units.

Omdia said Xiaomi was "solidifying third position as Huawei is continuously declining from the competition."

Honor shipped 3.6 million units in Q1 2021, its first as an independent entity.

Chinese OEMs Vivo and Oppo did even better than Xiaomi when it came to year-on-year unit growth, at 95.9% and 85.3% respectively, albeit from smaller bases. Still, it was enough to see them both grow their global market shares from 7% to 10%.

LG's announcement to exit the smartphone business, added Omdia, "will impact multiple OEMs competing in the mid-range segment."

Samsung, Apple take swings at each other

Omdia said an early update to the Galaxy S line allowed Samsung to take market share in Q1 2020 away from Apple, "and put focus on its own flagships as well as its latest range of devices in the A series."

Apple, added Omdia, continues to benefit from the delayed rollout of the iPhone 12 range. And, after a "blockbuster Q4 2020," the company was able register significant year-on-growth of 46.5%.

Overall the global smartphone market grew 28.1% year-on-year (YoY), to 350 million units

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on Light Reading.

"The smartphone market continues to show resilience in the face of multiple challenges," said Omdia principal analyst Gerrit Schneemann, before pointedly noting that "the global component supply shortage is looming large over the market."

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— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Ken Wieland

contributing editor

Ken Wieland has been a telecoms journalist and editor for more than 15 years. That includes an eight-year stint as editor of Telecommunications magazine (international edition), three years as editor of Asian Communications, and nearly two years at Informa Telecoms & Media, specialising in mobile broadband. As a freelance telecoms writer Ken has written various industry reports for The Economist Group.

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