Huawei Expects Dramatically Lower Smartphone Sales in 2021

Posted on February 19, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 6 Comments

According to a report in Nikkei Asia, Huawei has alerted its suppliers that it will need parts for just 70 million to 80 million smartphones this year. That’s well below the nearly 190 million units it sold in 2020.

The 60 percent-ish drop in smartphone sales follows a 22 percent drop in sales in 2020 and both are caused to ongoing U.S. sanctions against the firm, the publication says. These sanctions prevent Huawei from using Google Android in its phones, and they limit the firm to using 4G/LTE wireless technology instead of newer 5G parts. They also forced Huawei to sell off its Honor brand.

Despite the limitations, Huawei has no plans to stop making Huawei-branded smartphones. The firm says it will continue to invest in its Huawei Mobile Services and research related to that business, while also pursuing separate initiatives around cloud services and AI. Presumably, it’s also hoping that the Biden administration will reverse or at least lessen U.S. sanctions.

Once on track to overtake Samsung as the world’s biggest makers of smartphones, Huawei is still the biggest smartphone seller in China, with 18.9 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2021. But that’s a decline of over 40 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Worse, even that 70 million to 80 million figure for 2021 may be too optimistic: Some suppliers expect the final number to drop to about 50 million units.

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