Huawei 'cracks' UK market thanks to P20

Huawei’s share of the UK smartphone market has increased dramatically thanks to the critically-acclaimed Huawei P20 device.

New figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech show that the Chinese manufacturer’s market share rose from 2.7 per cent to 13.7 percent over the past three months.

In addition to positive reviews and increased awareness of Huawei, analysts have also cited a partnership with Argos as one of the reasons for success. Android devices still account for two thirds of the British market, with iOS making up the remaining third.

Huawei UK

“Huawei has been making rapid progress in Europe over the past three years, but performance in Great Britain has been lacklustre,” said Dominic Sunnebo, global director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

“To counter this the manufacturer has taken a dual-pronged approach, attacking the low end of the market with its budget P Smart model and the top end with the well-reviewed P20 Pro.”

Android is still dominant in Europe with 79 per cent of the market, while in China it commands 80 per cent. Local players Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are squeezing out other challengers, but the iPhone X has been the most popular handset in the country since its release last November.“

“As smartphone penetration exceeds 90 per cent in urban China and sales markedly slow, there are no easy wins left in the world’s largest smartphone market,” continued Sunnebo. “The power and marketing budgets of the big four players in China are leaving less room for challengers to be heard – if they want to make an impact it’s imperative they focus on targeting specific consumer segments, as a scattergun approach will not cut through.”

Android v iOS

Apple’s home market of the US also continues to be lucrative. A “stellar” three months has since its share increase by 5.9 percentage points to 38.7 per cent, with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus the two most popular devices in the country, accounting for one in five of all phones sold. The more expensive iPhone X was the fourth most popular. All of these means Android heavyweights Samsung and LG are feeling the pressure.

“Apple continues to wield huge power in the US market, with iPhone models making up eight out of the ten best-selling models in the past three months,” said Sunnebo. “Apple currently enjoys unprecedented depth across the smartphone price spectrum, ranging from the iPhone SE to the $1,000 iPhone X; resulting in continued growth and hitting Samsung and LG hard.

“While Samsung is well represented at the premium end of the market with its S9 and Note series, and its budget orientated J series helps compete against LG, lack of depth in the mid-high tier is allowing Apple to find a new avenue for growth.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.