Honor Burj Khalifa

Without Huawei, Honor is becoming a smartphone giant

Huawei’s dream of seeing its former subsidiary become a smartphone giant is about to come true. Thanks to strong growth, Honor is close to dominating the Chinese market… before returning to international heights?

After years of uncertainty, Honor is raising its head in the smartphone market. The Chinese brand, which will celebrate its two years of independence this year, is finding the heights in his country of origin. A great success as the firm has had to face headwinds since 2019. Launched as a sub-brand of Huawei, Honor grew in the family of the Chinese giant until the American sanctions struck a blow. stop this growth.

To allow its subsidiary to escape sanctions, Huawei decided to sell Honor in November 2020 to a consortium. Since then, the health crisis and the shortage of components have weakened the smartphone market; but it needed more to undermine the morale of an ever-ambitious brand. During the first three months of the year in China, Honor progressed according to the big analysis firms.

According to Counterpoint data, 74.2 million smartphones have been shipped to China in the first quarter of 2022. This represents a decrease of 14% over one year. Still disrupted by the pandemic, the Chinese market is shrinking and most manufacturers have lost ground.

Honor is making strong progress in China

Vivo takes the number 1 spot in China with 19.7% market share. The brand has been able to limit breakage with models like the vivo S12 and S12 Pro or its more affordable Y series. Oppo has been further disrupted by the current situation, dropping from 22.4% to 18% market share. The manufacturer is closely followed by the American giant Apple (17.9%) which seems to benefit from the fall of Huawei; despite tensions between Beijing and Washington. The iPhone 13 was the best-selling smartphone in China in the first quarter of 2022.

Q1 smartphones China Counterpoint
© Counterpoint

The strongest increase can be attributed to Honor (+166.8% year-on-year), which increased from 5.5% to 16.9% market share. The former Huawei subsidiary is getting closer to the top three with models like the Honor 60, Honor 60 Pro and 60 SE. Huawei fell from 15% to 6.2% in one year.

The good growth of Honor allows it to overtake Xiaomi and this should continue in the coming months.

Soon number 1 in China, will Honor find the heights in Europe?

At Strategy Analytics, the progression is even more marked since Honor ranks seconde. According to figures from the analysis firm, the brand has sold 13.5 million smartphones and captures 18.8% of the market. Only Oppo does better with 13.6 million smartphones sold and a slightly higher market share (18.9%). However, the two manufacturers are experiencing radically different curves with a sharp drop for Oppo (-40.1% over one year) while Honor records a very strong increase (+200%). This report assures that 71.9 million smartphones were shipped in China during the first quarter, largely via five brands: Oppo (including OnePlus), Honor, Vivo, Apple and Xiaomi.

Q1 smartphones China Strategy Analytics
© Strategy Analytics

Finally, the Canalys firm credits Honor of a growth of 205% over one year which allows it to dominate the market. The manufacturer has shipped 15 million smartphones according to figures from this firm; doing better than Oppo, Apple, Vivo and Xiaomi.

Q1 smartphones China Canalys
© Canalys

It is interesting to wait for the estimates of the different groups to have a better overview of the situation. Indeed, the method can vary from one firm to another and this explains the differences in the results. Nevertheless, we see that the major analysis firms agree on the fact that Honor is back in the race in China. It remains to be seen whether the Chinese firm can make Huawei forget in Europe.. For the time being, Honor has made a timid return to the Old Continent and plans to be more present in the coming months. The brand has just launched its Honor X8 in France and is banking on its Magic 4 series. This range includes the Magic 4 Lite (read our test) and the impressive Magic 4 Ultimate.

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