While Canalys reported last year that Huawei overtook Xiaomi to become the biggest-selling smartphone manufacturer in China during Q3, it now says strong Q4 sales enabled Xiaomi to retake the top slot for the year. It says Xiaomi ended the year with a 15.2% market share against 14.7% for Huawei, with Apple following at 12.5%.
The WSJ reports that this view is echoed by rival market intelligence company Strategy Analytics. However, with more Chinese consumers looking to upgrade to mid-range handsets this year, Canalys analyst Nicole Peng believes the positions could be reversed during the course of this year …
“Huawei is going to be very strong in 2016,” she said. “There is a change of consumer buying pattern where people are buying more premium handsets. This is beneficial to Huawei and Vivo, but isn’t playing to Xiaomi’s strengths.” Vivo is another Chinese smartphone maker.
Huawei’s average smartphone sale price in 2015 rose to $306 from $216 in 2014, while Xiaomi’s fell to $149 in 2015 from $189 the year before, according to Canalys. The average price in China rose to $319 last year versus $260 in 2014.
Xiaomi revealed last month that it had missed its target of 80M sales for 2015 while strong international sales enabled Huawei to join the triple-digit club with 107.1M sales last year. Xiaomi is, however, demonstrating its international expansion ambitions with a media preview of the Xiaomi Mi 5 in Barcelona.