So the quarterly results period has started in the smarphone wars. First up among Top 10 is Huawei. They revealed that their full year 2015 unit sales were 108 million smartphones. This is up from 75 million in 2014 so a growth of 44% in one year. That locks third ranking for Huawei. They can't catch Apple (nor Samsung) ahead of them but they also are safely above what Lenovo, LG and Xiaomi behind them could possibly do, meaning we know the full year race, for one ranking. Huawei of China was the world's third largest smartphone maker of 2015, congratulations. Its not the first time Huawei has been ranked 3rd. They jumped from 5th largest in 2012 to 3rd largest in 2013, but then in 2014, their Chinese rival Lenovo leapfrogged ahead of Huawei by purchasing the Motorola business. This return to 3rd ranking must taste particularly sweet for Huawei in that they achieved that position by organic growth compared to the acquisition method used by Lenovo last time. In terms of market share my preliminary estimate for Huawei is 7% for the full year, down from 7.8% in 2014. Huawei has become only the fourth smartphone maker ever to record a year of selling 100 million smarthpones (Samsung does three times that, Apple twice that, and Nokia once sold just over 100 million just before new CEO Stephen Elop destroyed the company's smartphone business).
Now for the Christmas quarter... that is not as good news for Huawei. They seem to have sold only 27 million smartphones, which would be flat compared to Q3 while the Christmas buying season has been on, and the smartphone quarterly market should be up quite dramatically. The reason I use the words 'would be' is that we do not have an official Q3 number from Huawei, only the estimates by the big analyst houses. Huawei only gives a half-year number and said they sold 50 million smartphones in the six months from January to June. Based on that, their half-year sales is up 16% which is far less than the annual increase of 44% they have year-on-year. But it does mean, that its more likely that Huawei's Q3 sales was lower, closer to say 25M than 27M and then there was still some growth from Q3 to Q4. Again, the real race is the annual race, and the quarterly results give us only some views and snapshots to the state of the race. If Huawei actually did only sell 27 million in Q4, it could have a quarterly rank below the 3rd position. We have to see how that goes. But as I said, the far more relevant number is the full-year sales than the last quarter and as Huawei's Q3 number is not definite, for Huawei the Q3-to-Q4 'growth rate' measure is particularly fuzzy.
PS our reader Teemu pointed out that actually this blog has known for a long while now that Samsung has won the year for 2015 and Apple finished second. So actually the Top 3 rankings are known. Their exact unit sales numbers and market shares are not known. The rankings below he Top 3 are not known but we do know the year 2015 largest smarphone makers Top 3 is Samsung, Apple and (now we also know) Huawei, in that order. Thanks Teemu. I didn't mean to suggest there is any doubt about who won the year, Sammy or Apple, even as there is a lot of interest in their Christmas quarter performance. The race now is for who finished 4th for the year, Lenovo or LG or Xiaomi or perhaps a dark horse like ZTE, Coolpad, TCL-Alcatel etc. We know it won't be one of the past glory giants like Sony, HTC, Blackberry or (Nokia) Microsoft haha. None of those former Top 3 giants will even be in the Top 10 for 2015.
Ok, thats the first of the Top 10 brands. More news as it trickles in. I hope to have the full year 2015 final numbers to report in February. Both of the last two years that blog story was posted on the 13th of February.