Samsung 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 the third quarter, putting Chinese company Huawei (which shipped nearly 50 million units) in second place to end its short-lived reign. Xiaomi beat Apple for the first time, reaching the top three with almost 47 million units shipped. Apple lost momentum in the third quarter that ended in September, falling to 42 million units despite robust growth in iPhone 11 sales. The setback is largely due to the delay in the launch of the iPhone 12 series, which shipped in late October.
Deliveries in the third quarter indicate a strong recovery in global smartphone sales, according to data IDC, Counterpoint, and channels Reports. They agree that while global smartphone shipments were down nearly 1 percent year-over-year, shipments are up against the slump due to import, export, and manufacturing issues caused by the global spread of COVID-19 recovered significantly in the last quarter.
After Apple in fourth place, the next three places were occupied by the BBK Electronics brands Vivo, Oppo and Realme in that order. While Vivo and Oppo phased out fewer than 32 million units battling for fifth and sixth places respectively, Realme climbed to seventh, the highest level ever, with exponential growth of over 100 percent from the previous quarter. “Realme is also becoming a serious competitor that is growing beyond e-commerce and threatening to undercut Xiaomi as it reshapes its go-to-market strategy,” said Canalys analyst Mo Jia. Among other large electronic suppliers, Lenovo closed the third quarter in eighth place with almost 10 million units and LG in ninth place with around 7 million units shipped.
While India is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is said to have been a major contributor to the overall recovery in global smartphone delivery along with the US and Latin America. The surge in shipments was also attributed to pent-up demand after lockdown conditions eased in many parts of the world.
“The supply issues will be resolved as the production units in China and Vietnam have started normal operations, while in India they are 80 percent operating at pre-COVID levels,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint.
According to IDC, 5G promotions are slowly heating up around the world, with 5G being positioned as the next phone for most consumers regardless of brand. “Even so, we still believe that consumer demand for 5G is minimal at best,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president at IDC.
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