Huawei’s pain is Xiaomi and Samsung’s gain: Trump’s trade war misfires

The US executive order against Huawei is helping Xiaomi and Samsung more than Apple, according to the latest stats from Kantar World Panel.

The company highlighted the trend in its latest Q2 smartphone sales report on Wednesday. In it global director for Kantar Dominic Sunnebo highlighted the two companies as the main early beneficiaries of the US vs China smartphone trade war.

“The impact of the adverse headlines is clear in the data, quarter-on-quarter Huawei share is down -1.9%pts in EU5 and most tellingly, June vs. May 2019 share, is down -9.0%pts. Early indications are that Samsung and Xiaomi are the key beneficiaries, with Apple seeing a smaller uptick in sales as a result,” he said.

The trade war started May when the White House issued an executive order forcing numerous tech companies to cut ties with Huawei. The order made Google revoke Huawei’s Android license. This means new Huawei phones will not get official software support from Google and will be cut off from key things, including the Play Store.

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The order is officially designed to address security concerns around Huawei tech, though industry analysts suggest it could also have a protectionist element, designed to hinder Huawei’s growth and dominance of many US brands.

The report suggested that despite overall positive growth, Apple has not benefited from the trade ban as much as non-US companies.

Android accounted for 80.1% of all smartphone sales across the five major European markets (EU5) according to Kantar’s stats. This marks a modest 0.6% growth on the last quarter. iOS saw a 0.8% sales decline in Europe and 2.4% drop in the US by comparison.

The lull is likely due to Apple iPhone’s high price. Most sales forecasts suggest top end phone sales are declining as users hold on to their phones longer. The mid and affordable end of the market are viewed as the fastest growing segments by most experts.

Sunnebo highlighted the iPhone XR and iPhone 8 as a key sellers for Apple, lending credence to the theory.

“iPhone XR was the top selling model in the US in Q2 2019, holding 7.8% share, with iPhone 8 and iPhone XS Max rounding out the top three best sellers. The latest flagship models from Samsung, Galaxy S10 Plus and Galaxy S10 held fourth and fifth best-selling models in the quarter,” he said.

He added that the effects of the trade war on Huawei could be short lived if a resolution is found in the near future.

“There are signs Huawei owners are putting off upgrading – likely waiting for clarity on the future situation. If this continues to be the case and the dispute is resolved it might mean that the majority of sales are delayed rather than lost to competitors, but the speed at which a resolution is found will determine this,” he said.

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