Apple may soon lose its position as the second-biggest smartphone maker in the world

The unbelievable success of the iPhone over the past decade has made Apple the second-biggest smartphone maker in the world — but it might not hold that position forever.

While Apple’s sales have stayed relatively flat year-on-year, Chinese handset makers’ growth is surging, new data shows, with Huawei now threatening to dethrone Apple.

Research firm Canalys has put out a new report showing that Apple’s sales grew by just 2% in the second quarter of 2017 compared to a year ago.

But Huawei jumped by a full 20% — selling 38 million devices, within reaching distance of Apple’s 41 million.

As you can see in the graph below, Samsung (79 million) also didn’t see much growth, while other Asian firms like Oppo and Xiaomi surged, by 44% and 52% respectively.

Overall, 340 million smartphones were shipped in Q2 2017 — up 4% year-on-year.

Strategy Analytics also published data this week that aligns with Canalys’ report. (Its numbers are slightly different — it puts overall shipments as up 5.5% year-on-year, for example — but the overall trends are the same.) So is Apple about to be robbed of its silver medal? That partly depends on a complicating factor: The iPhone 8.

It has been 10 years since Apple unveiled the first iPhone, and the edition it is expected to unveil this September is highly anticipated. It is expected to have an almost edge-to-edge screen, no home button, face scanning tech, and a revamped camera, among other features. If it lives up to the hype, Apple could enjoy a significant boost.

“Apple grew 1 per cent annually and shipped 41.0 million smartphones for 11 per cent marketshare worldwide in Q2 2017, down slightly from 12 per cent a year ago. Apple’s iPhone has gone out of fashion in China and this is placing a cap on its worldwide performance,” Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said in a statement. “Attention will now turn to Apple’s rumoured iPhone 8 introduction later this year and whether its tenth-anniversary flagship model will be different or exciting enough to ignite a rebound in iPhone volumes for the important Q4 2017 Western holiday season.”

But regardless of whether Apple retains its spot or not — it’s clear Huawei is on a strong streak. “Huawei maintained third position with a record 11 per cent global smartphone marketshare in Q2 2017, up from 9 per cent a year ago,” director Woody Oh said.

“Huawei is now closing in fast on Apple and Apple will be looking nervously over its shoulder in the next few quarters. Huawei is outperforming across Asia, Europe and Africa with popular Android models such as the P10 and Mate 9.”

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