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Apple falls to number three global smartphone manufacturer globally

Credit: Xiaomi

Xiaomi has become the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world for the first time during the second quarter of 2021, displacing Apple for the number two spot behind Samsung.

Xiaomi had a 17% share of the market in Q2 2021, behind Samsung's 19% share and ahead of Apple's 14% share. Xiaomi also saw the highest growth, with research firm Canalys estimating that the manufacturer grew 83% year-over-year. Oppo and Vivo took the fourth and fifth positions in the global smartphone maker list, each with a 10% share of the market.

Apple only saw 1% annual growth in the second quarter of 2021, while Samsung clocked in with 15% annual growth. Oppo grew 28% annually, while Vivo grew 27%.

"Xiaomi is growing its overseas business rapidly. For example, its shipments increased more than 300% in Latin America, 150% Africa and 50% in Western Europe. And as it grows, it evolves. It is now transforming its business model from challenger to incumbent, with initiatives such as channel partner consolidation and more careful management of older stock in the open market," said Ben Stanton, research manager at Canalys.

Compared to Apple and Samsung, Xiaomi still produces smartphones that are skewed toward the low-end and midrange. Its average selling price (ASP) is 40% lower than Samsung and 75% lower than Apple, the research firm estimates.

"So a major priority for Xiaomi this year is to grow sales of its high-end devices, such as the Mi 11 Ultra," Stanton said. "But it will be a tough battle, with Oppo and Vivo sharing the same objective, and both willing to spend big on above-the-line marketing to build their brands in a way that Xiaomi is not."

These results are preliminary, and Canalys has yet to release firm smartphone shipment numbers for the second quarter as of Thursday. In Q1 2021, global smartphone shipments totaled 347 million units with Apple in second place.

Canalys notes that all smartphone vendors are fighting to secure critical components amid global supply shortages. However, analysts at JP Morgan indicate that Apple is feeling little to no impact by the supply issues when compared to its Android-making counterparts.

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