As of Q3, China now has two of the top three spots on the list of most-shipped smartphone companies, with Xiaomi taking the No. 3 spot from Apple.
If this was the Olympics, Apple would be off the podium, as the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi managed to ship more units than Apple in the third quarter of 2020, according to the latest data. As a result, the U.S. tech company has fallen to fourth place in the list of vendors with the most smartphone shipments worldwide.
Apple has been slowly slipping in its overall rankings over the past couple of years. Chinese competitor Huawei knocked Apple out of second place in 2019 and, while the company has been far from hurting, it has failed to regain its place in the market. Of course, the pandemic hasn’t helped with global smartphones sales in general having taken a hit earlier in the year. Although also dealing with the effects of COVID-19, China’s economic recovery began sooner than many other places. This allowed, Huawei, for example, to pull itself into a virtual tie with Samsung in Q2.
Counterpoint Research reports that smartphone sales began to rebound in Q3 as lockdown conditions eased in a number of countries. In total, 365.6 million smartphones were shipped during the third quarter. While that was still down 4-percent compared to the same time last year, it was 32-percent growth compared to Q2. However, one of the biggest surprises was Xiaomi after managing to ship 46.2 million phones in Q3. This compared to Apple and its 41.7 million units shipped during the same quarter. Overall, this resulted in a 13 and 11-percent of the market share, respectively. What might be even more surprising is the year-over-year change.
Xiaomi shipped significantly more phones than it did over the same period last year. In Q3 2019, Xiaomi shipped 31.7 million phones, resulting in 46-percent growth in Q3 2020. Compared to the last quarter, shipments increased by 75-percent. Meanwhile, Apple shipped less phones than last year at the same time. In Q3 2019, Apple shipped 44.8 million iPhone units, amounting to a 7-percent drop year-over-year. However, Apple did also experience quarterly growth, with shipments going up 11-percent over Q2. Of course, Apple just launched its iPhone 12 line so that will almost certainly give the company a boost in Q4. Therefore, Xiaomi’s days in the No. 3 spot may already be numbered.
Samsung Still Number One
While Huawei managed to pull itself neck-and-neck in Q2, Samsung has definitively taken back the top spot in Q3. The South Korean consumer electronics company shipped 79.8 million smartphones during the last quarter, resulting in a 22-percent market share. This is the highest quarterly shipment for Samsung in the past three years. It also amounts to a 2-percent year-over-year and 47-percent quarter-over-quarter level of growth for the company. The Fan Edition version of its popular Galaxy S20 line only became available at the beginning of October, so that may help Samsung stay on top in the final quarter of the year as well.
Huawei’s sales, on the other hand, took a downwards swing. While the Chinese tech company held onto second place, it experienced a major drop in shipments, moving only 50.9 million phones in Q3 2020, equating to a 14-percent share of the market. This was a drop both quarter-over-quarter (7-percent) and year-over-year (24-percent). As supply chains in other countries recover from the pandemic, Huawei’s position seems to be faltering. Of course, the fact that none of its 2020 phones have Google apps because of the U.S. ban doesn’t help. Still, with the holiday season here, expect plenty of Apple and Samsung phones to be sold during the fourth quarter.
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