Samsung regains top smartphone spot backed by new launches and pent-up demand

01 Nov 2020 10:06 AM
Image: Collected
Samsung regained its number 1 position in global smartphone sales in the third quarter, after losing ground to Chinese rival Huawei in the second quarter, according to International Data Corporation, Counterpoint Research and Canalys.

The most significant South Korean company by earnings retained a 23 % market share in the 90 days to the end of September, after selling 80.2 million mobiles during the period, practically 1.3 million a lot more than the same period this past year, according to Canalys data.

Huawei’s market share fell to 14.9 % with sales of 51.7 million units in the same period.

“Samsung suffered in Q2 because of its reliance on offline retail … but Q3 saw a major recovery,” said Shengtao Jin, an analyst with Singapore-based Canalys.

“In lots of regions it saw pent-up demand … secondly, it regained second place in India, as its Korean brand was shielded from anti-Chinese sentiment … thirdly, Samsung ramped up its launches of low-to-mid-range devices and introduced incentives to stimulate demand,” Mr Jin said.

Huawei’s loss of ground created room because of its Chinese counterpart Xiaomi to improve its market share.

Xiaomi shipped 46.5 million devices to grab the quantity three position globally. It topped Apple for the very first time with 13.1 percent market share and 42 percent gross annual growth, according to IDC.

“This is because of strong gains in India and a continued strong existence in China, which accounted for 53 percent of the company's volume in the 3rd quarter,” IDC said.

In Europe, an integral battleground, Huawei’s shipments fell 25 %, while Xiaomi’s grew 88 percent, according to Mo Jia, Canalys analyst.

Cupertino-headquartered Apple shipped 41.6 million iPhones in the 3rd quarter, an gross annual 10.6 % decline, which placed the business in fourth place for the very first time with an 11.8 % share of the marketplace.

Industry analysts said this drop was “expected” and is mainly as a result of a delay in the launch of the brand new 5G-enabled iPhone 12 series. Apple, which usually launches its new iPhones every year in the third quarter, pushed the release to October due to supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Still, analysts expect Apple to grow in the coming quarters with strong early demand for new iPhones in conjunction with robust trade-in offers across major carriers, especially in the US.

Overall, the global smartphone market declined 4 % year-on-year but grew 32 % quarterly to 366 million units in the last quarter, according to Counterpoint.

This is largely related to the re-opening of economies around the world, as Covid-19 restrictions were gradually relaxed. This recovery was driven by all key markets, just like the US, India and Latin America slowly time for normal.

“Eased lockdown conditions in all key markets made method for exports and imports, thus streamlining the supply chain again,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director with Hong Kong-based research company.

“The pent-up demand because of lockdowns helped the smartphone market have a recovery trajectory. The supply issues are receiving resolved as the manufacturing units in China and Vietnam have started operating at their normal levels … in India, they are operating at 80 percent of pre-Covid levels,” he added.

Analysts are optimistic about a business recovery that will be backed by new 5G phones.

In large, developed markets, it really is clear that 5G will be positioned to many consumers as their next phone regardless of brand or price, said Ryan Reith, vice president with IDC.

“Marketing has ramped up significantly. Products are accessible. Promotions are happening ... and it's really clear that the top sales initiative in these markets is to push 5G,” Mr Reith said.