The smartphone market has been struggling since 2022, as the global financial crisis has reduced consumer spending and demand. This year, smartphone shipments are expected to reach their lowest level since 2013, not counting the pandemic-hit 2020.
In this challenging environment, HONOR stands out as a resilient and ambitious brand. Unlike some of its competitors who are facing inventory issues or scaling back their expansion plans due to market uncertainties, HONOR is actually growing.
Outside of China, HONOR’s shipments in Q1 2023 increased by almost 400% compared to Q1 2022. The only other major brand that achieved growth in the same period was HMD; many others suffered double-digit declines.
HONOR’s growth is impressive, considering that it only became an independent brand (separated from Huawei) in November 2020. Although it started from a smaller base than others, its growth trajectory – especially in a declining market, is positive.
What are the factors behind HONOR’s success? And can it climb up the top 10 non-China rankings list in 2024?
With impressive growth in three regions Europe, the Middle East & Africa and Latin America where its shipments increased by more than five times, six times and eight times respectively in the past year.
HONOR had a slow start in Europe after becoming independent in November 2020. But it bounced back in early 2022 with many big partners like Three UK, Orange, SFR France and Wind Tre Italy. These operators are key to HONOR’s success as they sell about 40% of the smartphones in Europe in Q1 2023 (and about 55% in Western Europe).
HONOR has three main product lines in Europe:
- The Magic series, with the Magic4 Pro as the first flagship, showed HONOR’s premium quality and did well in France, Germany and the UK.
- The HONOR 50 and 50 Lite were the best sellers in Q1 2022, followed by the HONOR 70 as the main volume driver in Q1 2023.
- The X series appealed to budget-conscious markets like Italy and Eastern Europe.
With this diverse portfolio, HONOR grew fast in Europe. HONOR wants to keep this up with the highly praised Magic5 Pro (launched in Q2 2023) and the Magic Vs (HONOR’s foldable launched in Europe).
Source Counterpoint Research