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Samsung Regains Top Spot in Q3 Global Smartphone Shipments, Huawei Drops to Second and Xiaomi is Third: Analyst Reports


Samsung has regained the top spot in global smartphone shipments in the third quarter of 2020, multiple research reports confirm. The South Korean company shipped nearly 80 million units in Q3, pushing China’s Huawei (which shipped close to 50 million units) to the second spot ending its short-lived reign. Xiaomi beat Apple for the first time to enter the top three with close to 47 million units shipped. Apple lost momentum in the third quarter that ended in September and dropped to 42 million units despite robust growth in iPhone 11 sales, the reports say. The setback has been largely attributed to the delay in launching the iPhone 12 series that started shipping late in October.

The third quarter shipments indicate a strong recovery in global smartphone sales, according to IDC, Counterpoint, and Canalys reports. They unanimously agree that while the global smartphone shipments declined by close to 1 percent year-on-year, the shipments recovered significantly from the last quarter slump due to the import, export, and manufacturing challenges caused by the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

After Apple at number four, the next three spots were filled up by BBK Electronics brands, Vivo, Oppo, and Realme, in that order. While Vivo and Oppo shipped under 32 million units each fighting for the fifth and sixth spot, Realme climbed up to the seventh, its highest ever, with exponential quarter-on-quarter growth, pegged at over 100 percent. “Realme is also becoming a serious contender, growing beyond e-commerce, and threatens to undercut Xiaomi as it transforms its go-to-market strategy,” says analyst Mo Jia of Canalys. Among other major electronic vendors, Lenovo closed the third quarter at number eight with close to 10 million units and LG at nine with around 7 million units shipped, according to the reports.

Despite still being in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, India, along with the US and Latin America, is said to have had a significant contribution to the overall recovery of global smartphone shipment. The spike in shipments has also been attributed to pent-up demand after lockdown conditions eased in many parts of the world.

“The supply issues are getting resolved as the manufacturing units in China and Vietnam have started operating at their normal levels, while in India, they are operating at 80 percent of the pre-COVID levels,” said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint.

IDC says that 5G promotions are starting to heat up around the world with 5G being positioned to most consumers as their next phone regardless of the brand. “Having said that, we still believe consumer demand for 5G is minimal at best,” said Ryan Reith, Program Vice President at IDC.


Is this the end of the Samsung Galaxy Note series as we know it? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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