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Xiaomi phone sales trump Apple once again

iPhone 12
(Image credit: Future)

Gartner says worldwide smartphone sales rose by 10.8% in the second quarter of 2021, with rebounding demand and 5G phones helping to drive growth despite ongoing production challenges.

A total of 328.8 million handsets were sold during the three-month period, with manufacturers tasked with supply chain constraints and shortage of components caused by Covid-19.

“Reinforced shelter-in-place instructions and factory shut-downs in India and Vietnam due to the second wave of COVID-19, along with closure of retail businesses and restrictions on online deliveries affected smartphone sales negatively in the second quarter after a strong start in beginning of 2021,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner.

Smartphone sales

“However, regions with higher penetration of 5G connectivity saw strong demand for 5G smartphones and were growth drivers for leading smartphone vendors.” 

“Demand for smartphones continued to be strong in this quarter as buyers preferred higher specifications and better user experience. The pent-up demand from 2020 continues to drive advantage for global smartphone vendors in 2021.”

Samsung remains the world’s largest manufacturer, with the launch of mid-range and entry level handsets helping boost sales, however its share of the market shrank from 18.4% to 17.6%. The Korean electronics giant was not immune to the aforementioned problems facing the entire industry.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi continued its rapid expansion beyond its traditional markets, overtaking Apple to secure second place. Sales rose by 80.5% to 51 million handsets thanks to investments in retail channels and operator partnerships, giving the Chinese vendor a 15.5% share of the market.

Apple’s sales rose from 28.4 million to 49.3 million, leaving it in third place ahead of Oppo and Vivo -0 both of which made gains.

“Apple’s aggressive sales promotion for its iPhone 11 series smartphones and iPhone SE (2020) added to its growth in the price-sensitive segment,” added Gupta.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.