Huawei sees eight-fold increase in e-commerce sales

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Huawei Consumer Business Group SA CTO Akhram Mohamed.
Huawei Consumer Business Group SA CTO Akhram Mohamed.

Sales on Huawei’s e-commerce site have increased by 805% in the past three months, as the lockdown period awakens SA’s appetite for online shopping.

Consumers are able to purchase a range of products, including tablets, laptops, WiFi devices, wearables and accessories, on theHuawei Store.

Although facing huge challenges in the West, as well as the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese telecoms giant says its South African sales have continued to increase across all verticals, with its e-commerce platform, in particular, skyrocketing in the second quarter of 2020.

This as research firm GfK’s latest report shows SA’s consumer preference for online shopping has grown dramatically in most product categories during the lockdown period, with growth in the adoption of online shopping for mobile phones, consumer electronics, groceries and DIY expected to be robust post-pandemic.

In a virtual media briefing session held yesterday, Huawei Consumer Business Group SA CTO Akhram Mohamed noted the telecommunication giant’s performance in SA has shown a steady increase, even in the face of the global pandemic.

“Previously, traditional retail used to dominate our sales space but now our e-commerce platform in the second quarter has grown by 805% − this is massive, and it’s been consistent over the period in April, May and June.

“In April, we saw just over 600% increase in sales, and by the end of June, we reported 805%. We expect this trend to continue to grow and we will make more investments and increase focus on what we are doing in the e-commerce space.”

According to GfK, the COVID-19 crisis is catalysing changes in consumer behaviour that are likely to outlast the pandemic, with 26% of South Africans saying they would definitely increase their usage of online shopping even after the pandemic.

Changing the status quo

In terms of its mobile business performance, for the first time, Huawei has overtaken South Korean electronics company Samsung as the world’s biggest smartphone maker in Q2 2020.

Referencing the latest Canalys report, Mohamed said Huawei shipped 55.8 million devices, and second-placed Samsung shipped 53.7 million smartphones, in the quarter.

The Chinese telco’s rise to the top marked the first quarter in nine years that a company other than Samsung or Apple led the market, with SA showing the same trends, noted Mohamed.

“We have a 45% postpaid market share in SA, making us the number one performer in the first half of 2020 in the postpaid market.

“And we know that postpaid in the local mobile market controls 70% of the value space. We are seeing a 2% year-on-year increase in SA, which is very encouraging during a time when many competitors have had double-digit declines in the same period,” he continued.

In March, Huawei launched the Huawei Y7p, its first smartphone pre-installed with its native ecosystem, Huawei Mobile Services (HMS).

Huawei began building its own eco-system following restrictions imposed by the US on Google's trade with the telco in May, after the US Department of Commerce put Huawei on an export blacklist, citing “national security threats” due to the company’s close ties to the Chinese government.

HMS is Huawei’s effort to create an ecosystem of applications, application programming interfaces and cloud services, with the Android-based EMUI used as the device interface.

“Our HMS phones launched in the first quarter of 2020, and right now, our HMS portfolio represents 38% of our entire product portfolio sales, which is huge in the short space of time we’ve had.

“Based on these numbers and our current sales ratio, we are projecting that by the end of the year, HMS sales will represent 70% of our entire product sales within the SA market,” said Mohamed.

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