- TrendForce estimates that Huawei will ship just 45 million phones in 2021, a fraction of the 170 million from 2020.
- That would kick it out of the top six phone makers in the space of a year.
- US trade bans would be largely responsible for the decline.
You were probably expecting Huaweiâ€™s 2021 phone sales to take a hit due to US trade bans, but a new estimate suggests it could be a particularly brutal decline. As theÂ South China Morning Post reports, TrendForce has estimated that Huawei will ship just 45 million phones in 2021 versus 170 million in 2020 â€” enough to drop from third place in market share to seventh, below Tecnoâ€™s parent company Transsion.
American sanctions would unsurprisingly play a large role in Huaweiâ€™s market share drop, according to TrendForce. While analysts werenâ€™t specific about how these measures would limit Huawei, the issue isnâ€™t just that Huawei canâ€™t deal with US companies directly â€” itâ€™s also losing access to the manufacturing it needs for cutting-edge components. It canâ€™t turn to TSMC or Samsung to make chips, and even China-based SMIC faces US-imposed limitations. The Mate 40 is a swan song for Huaweiâ€™s high-end devices, and that will hurt the companyâ€™s phone sales in 2021.
Huawei will also have to compete against its former Honor brand, TrendForce noted. While itâ€™s uncertain how well Honor will fare as an independent company, itâ€™s reportedly planning to ship more phones than Huawei in 2021. Huawei will have â€œmore difficultyâ€� reclaiming market share, researchers said.
Related: Is Xiaomi the new Huawei?
Rivals arenâ€™t expected to see much of a shakeup, although competition could intensify. Samsung would continue to lead with an estimated 267 million phones shipped, but that would only be a slight gain over last yearâ€™s 264 million. Apple would close the gap considerably with 229 million iPhones shipped (up from 199 million), while Huaweiâ€™s Chinese competitors Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo would all ship tens of millions more phones to take Huaweiâ€™s place.
These are estimates, and it wonâ€™t be surprising if Huaweiâ€™s real-world market share varies. If the predictions hold up, however, Huaweiâ€™s phone sales will be a shadow of their former selves in 2021. The once-dominant phone giant could soon be just another mid-tier brand fighting for modest sales gains.