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Xiaomi takes third place in global market share for the first time, say analyst firms

Jasper Hart
November 2, 2020

Chinese vendor benefits from growth at Huawei’s expense and delayed iPhone launch

Xiaomi has become the third largest smartphone manufacturer by global shipments in the third quarter of 2020, according to a trio of analyst firms.

New figures from Canalys, IDC and Counterpoint Research show the Chinese firm seeing enough annual growth in the quarter to push past Apple for the first time.

Canalys, IDC, and Counterpoint estimated Xiaomi’s quarterly device shipments to be 47.1 million, 46.5 million, and 46.2 million respectively, giving it a market share of 13.5 per cent, 13.1 per cent, and 13 per cent.

This constituted a year-on-year growth of 45 per cent (Canalys), 46 per cent (IDC) and 42 per cent (Counterpoint). Xiaomi is currently celebrating its 10th year in the smartphone business.

Xiaomi’s growth was driven mainly by strong performances in China, India, and Western Europe, where its shipments grew by 88 per cent according to Canalys.

This was partly due to declining Huawei shipments in international markets. Huawei retained second place for global shipments, but saw the biggest decline of the top five vendors, with Counterpoint concluding it had seen a 24 per cent loss in annual shipments.

“Xiaomi executed with aggression to seize shipments from Huawei,” said Canalys analyst Mo Jia. “There was symmetry in Q3, as Xiaomi added 14.5 million units and Huawei lost 15.1 million. In Europe, a key battleground, Huawei’s shipments fell 25 per cent, while Xiaomi’s grew 88 per cent. Xiaomi took a risk setting high production targets, but this move paid off when it was able to fill channels in Q3 with high-volume devices, such as the Redmi 9 series.”

Counterpoint analyst Abhilash Kumar added: “In new markets, like LatAm, Europe and the Middle East, Xiaomi’s share expanded rapidly at the expense of Huawei amid US-China trade sanctions.”

Xiaomi was also aided in its push for third by Apple’s delayed launch of its new iPhones. The US vendor’s shipments were down by one per cent year-on-year as it did not end the quarter with any early adoption sales of its new devices.

Analysts said that Xiaomi now faces competition from challenger brands such as Oppo, Realme and Vivo, the latter of which launched in Europe last month.

Samsung stays top, Realme drives on

Samsung remained top of the analyst firms’ market share charts, seeing minor growth year-on-year but a strong quarterly recovery as it widened the gap between itself and Huawei.

Meanwhile, Realme continued its remarkable growth by being the fastest growing smartphone brand this year. According to Counterpoint, Realme saw growth of 45 per cent year-on-year, and 132 per cent quarter-on-quarter, driven by growth in China and southeast Asia. Counterpoint and Canalys put Realme in seventh place for market share.

“Realme is also becoming a serious contender, growing beyond ecommerce, and threatenes to undercut Xiaomi as it transforms its go-to-market strategy,” said Jia.

Global performance

More widely, the global smartphone market is showing signs of recovery, according to the firms. Canalys said that total shipments for the quarter stood at 384 million, down just one per cent year-on-year, and up 22 per cent on the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, IDC estimated shipments of 353.6 million, down just 1.3 per cent year-on-year, while Counterpoint said that there had been 366 million shipments, a decline of four per cent.

However, analysts warned against a return to normality, as retail restrictions across several markets looked set to return amid rising Covid-19 cases.

“The second wave will stretch government stimulus budgets, and cause widespread bankruptcies and job losses in affected areas,” said Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton. “Unfortunately, the relief of Q3 looks set to be short-lived.”

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