Huawei passes Apple in smartphone share for the first time

OnePlus 6 sales helped OnePlus beat Samsung in India’s premium market

The premium smartphone segment grew by 19 per cent in the June quarter of 2018 compared to the year-ago period, according to Counterpoint Research. Samsung, which has been a reigning smartphone company in India, slipped to the second place with 34% market share while Apple was placed at the third spot with 14% share of the premium segment in the country. "Chinese brands have ramped up their distribution, understand the market much better and will create pressure for Apple and Samsung who have dominated till now", said Counterpoint Research partner and research director (IoT, mobile and ecosystems) Neil Shah via ET. IDC and IHS Markit reported the firm had shipped 54.2 million phones; Canalys estimates it was 54 million.

China and the USA are also embroiled in a trade dispute with both nations imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods and fighting over technology and patents, which analysts said creates significant uncertainty for all of the major smartphone brands.

IDC believes this is the result of churn in some highly-penetrated markets, although many high growth markets still exist and should return smartphone shipments to overall growth.

With the dual SIM support iPhone, the company might expand its user base in India, where presently it has less than 2% market share.

What's more - this isn't the first time OnePlus beat Apple or Samsung in this segment. While Samsung retains the top spot in the shipment ranking, the company recorded its worst quarterly performance since the second quarter of 2013, it notes.

Even Apple, which is usually immune to downward sales trends, saw shipments remain relatively flat in Q2 (its fiscal Q3), with iPhone sales increasing by just one percent year-over-year.

"The premium segment is becoming crowded". The decline was mostly due to the benign response of consumers towards its Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ flagships. Plus, the iPhone X has helped push Apple's ASP up and generated more profits for it.

Apple shipments were static at 41.3 million despite the fact the firm is selling nine models rather than the six it did this time a year ago.

"Huawei's momentum will obviously concern Samsung, but it should also serve as a warning to Apple, which needs to ship volume to support its growing services division", Stanton said in a statement. That may seem a bit low for a premium segment, but its partly because OnePlus and others are aggressively pushing high-end phones below the INR 40,000 mark and are skewing the market.

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