Apple just beat Xiaomi in the battle for second biggest smartphone maker

iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro Max (Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple has reclaimed second place in the list of global smartphone shipments, just a few months after losing the title to Xiaomi. The release of the new iPhone 13 series tipped the company back into second position, but it still remains behind Samsung.

As per the figures shared by IDC (International Data Corporation), Apple regained the second spot by shipping 50.4 million units in the third quarter. That runs from July until the end of September, with Xiaomi taking the third spot with 44.3 million global shipments. 

Apple now enjoys a 15.2% market share and booked 20.8% year-over-year growth. In comparison, Xiaomi registered a 4.6% decline in Q3 of 2021, but it has managed to grab an overall good chunk of the market with a 13.4% share, surpassing many others on the list

Samsung retained its top spot with 69 million shipments and a market share of 20.8%. Vivo and Oppo share the fourth spot on the list with a weirdly-similar 33.3 million for Vivo and 33.2 million for Oppo.

Apple may have benefitted from an increase in the sale of its iPhones during the third quarter. The delay in the launch of the iPhone 13 series as well as the price drops on earlier models might have contributed to the spike in shipments for the company.  

Analysis: Smartphone shipments are down, and it's clear why

Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 331.2 million units during the quarter, a slight decline from the last quarter as the vendors struggled to meet the demand for devices amid component shortages. 

As IDC reports, the supply chain and component shortage issues have played a big role in altering the positions. 

For a long time, it was assumed that the smartphone market was immune to this issue despite many adjacent industries (laptops and games consoles, for example) being impacted. But the issues have finally caught up in the smartphone market. 

The IDC report also suggested that the shortages are affecting all vendors alike but clearly, some companies faced the brunt of the supply chain disruption compared to the others.  

The report further mentions that there are a lot of other factors that are limiting the rate of growth. For instance, stricter testing and quarantining policies in factories contributed to major delays.

There are also industry manufacturing and logistical challenges to deal with as well, which the IDC believes, would result in persistent supply-side for the early part of next year.

However, it was not all southward bound for Xiaomi. Canalys, an analyst firm, has reported that Xiaomi wants to displace Samsung to become the world’s largest vendor. Perhaps, Xiaomi’s bullish plans got hit by unprecedented events related to processor shortages. 

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Naina Batra

For the past seven plus years, Naina has been an avid follower of the consumer technology industry, with a special focus on gadgets. Her areas of focus include the broad world of smartphones, apps, wearables, and other consumer electronics. Always on the lookout for new and unique bits, Naina constantly seeks to find ways to share her knowledge with readers in a fashion that benefits both.