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Xiaomi dethrones Apple again as global smartphone shipments dip

Xiaomi dethrones Apple again as global smartphone shipments dip

Xiaomi recorded yearly shipment growth of 83 per cent, while Apple grew by just 1 per cent.

Credit: Supplied

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has blasted past Apple for the second time in the global smartphone shipment rankings, coming in second place for the first time during the June quarter.

Out of the top five global smartphone vendors during Q2, Samsung held onto first place with 58 million units shipped, representing annual growth of 8 per cent and marketshare of 18 per cent. 

Xiaomi meanwhile made serious strides with its 52.8 million units shipped, representing market share of 17 per cent and yearly growth of 83 per cent. This surpasses its best ever single-quarter performance record it set last quarter, which saw shipment growth at 62 per cent. 

The Chinese manufacturer overtook Apple — something it has only ever achieved one other time during Q3 of 2020  — as it dropped to third place with 45.7 million units shipped, 14 per cent market share and annual growth of just 1 per cent. 

“The big difference here is the mix of iPhones selling,” said Canalys research analyst Le Xuan Chiew. “Apple launched the low-cost iPhone SE in April 2020, which accounted for 28 per cent of its mix at that time. This year, with no new iPhone SE, its average selling price increased drastically.  

“In addition, its iPhone 12 mini is underperforming against channel expectations despite wholesale discounting, and the iPhone 12 Pro models have become a particularly high mix, at 37 per cent. For comparison, last year, the iPhone 11 Pro models accounted for 17 per cent of iPhones.  

“Apple, like all brands, will run into component headwinds in H2 2021. But its scale has significant weight with supply chain partners, and it will not suffer to the same extent as smaller rivals. It also has hardware margin to play with, should it choose to absorb the cost of component price rises, where some of its rivals may be forced to tweak pricing to maintain profitability,” he added. 

Behind the top three were Oppo and Vivo, with the former shipping 32.6 million units during the quarter, edging out the latter with only 31.2 million units. They both tied for market share at 10 per cent each, while their annual growth was only a percentage point apart — Oppo with 26 per cent and Vivo with 27 per cent. 

Xiaomi’s most successful run yet in the global standings comes amid a quarterly decline of 9 per cent in overall global shipments, coming down to 316 million shipments. 

Ben Stanton, Canalys research manager, said that some regions around the world are seeing channel inventory of smartphones running “dangerously low”, with major brands currently practicing regional and channel prioritisation.  

“As a result, huge internal conflicts have emerged as regional managers try to secure allocation,” he said. “Furthermore, many vendors have now also removed sales incentives for a region to overachieve on its targets, to avoid supplies becoming overstretched.  

“Going forward though, as supply constraints ease in 2022, the market is set to explode into life. A war has already started, with brands pouring substantial sums of money into showpiece marketing in international markets.  

“Vivo and Oppo have been at the forefront of this drive, purchasing lucrative sponsorships with the likes of the Indian Premier League, the World Cup, Wimbledon and FC Barcelona,” he added. 


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