The smartphone market continues its streak of bouncing back after a momentary slump because of the pandemic. According to industry analyst International Data Corp. (IDC), the second quarter of 2021 (2Q21) experienced growth of 13.2% year over year, slightly beating IDC’s forecast of 12.5% growth.
Samsung keeps the No. 1 spot while Xiaomi edged out Apple in the second spot. The top 5 is dominated by Chinese brands with Oppo and Vivo taking the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
“Shipments of 5G devices are on the rise, especially as price points go down, but we continue to believe that consumers are not yet buying specifically for 5G,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Mobile and Consumer Device Trackers. “They are buying because they need a replacement device and in some cases a first-time smartphone.”
According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 313.2 million devices during the quarter. Every region contributed to the overall growth except for China, where the lack of flagship product launches, weaker than expected demand, and the further decline of the Huawei brand pulled the market down 10% compared to the second quarter of 2020.
IDC noted the absence of one of the two strongest brands before — Huawei and LG. Huawei was banned by the administration of former US President Donald Trump after suspicion of spying while LG discontinued its smartphone portfolio citing that the market is “incredibly competitive.”
IDC said that the market share left by the two brands is “up for grabs.”
Xiaomi moved into the second position for the first time in 2Q21, moving Apple to third. In the markets where Huawei and LG are strongest (China and the USA, respectively), companies face different chances of gaining that share. In the US, Motorola, TCL, and OnePlus experienced year-over-year gains beyond what they have seen in recent years due to LG’s departure. In China, it’s the usual suspects – Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo, and Apple – that continue to gain from Huawei’s rapid decline.
Apple in China
“China’s role in Apple’s incredible growth in the last few quarters cannot be denied,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Mobile and Consumer Device Trackers. “Huawei had a significant share in the high-end segment in China, and with its massive decline, Apple remained the best option for consumers in this segment.”
IDC said that in 1Q21, Apple had already captured a 72% share of the >$800 segment in China, with Huawei falling to just 24%.
“This is a clear sign that other players in this market have not breached this price segment,” Popal said. “Globally, all Chinese brands are growing rapidly, with Xiaomi hitting record volume this quarter and year-over-year growth of 86.6%. Another rising star is realme, which saw the fastest year-over-year growth among the top 10 at 149% and more than three-quarters of its volume coming from outside China. As all these Chinese brands increase their focus in regions like Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa, the competition will only get more intense for the likes of Samsung and other players in those markets.”