Just after its climb to the No. 2 spot for Q2 2021, Xiaomi is the world’s largest smartphone supplier for the first time. That’s according to July’s Counterpoint Research figures, which put Xiaomi first with 17.1 percent of the global market, Samsung second with 15.7 percent and Apple third with 14.3 percent.
Counterpoint says Xiaomi’s market share has grown 26 percent monthly. Tarun Pathak, Director of Counterpoint Research, explains why, saying, “Since the beginning of Huawei’s decline, Xiaomi has made consistent and aggressive efforts to fill the gap left by this decline. The OEM is expanding into the traditional markets of Huawei and HONOR, such as China, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In June, Xiaomi was further aided by the recovery in China, Europe and India and Samsung’s decline due to supply restrictions.”
Huawei has been falling on the market share charts as the effects of the multi-year US export ban caught up with the company. Huawei continues to make paper announcements, but with the main brand running out of chips and software, plus the sale of sub-brand Honor, there’s not much left of Huawei in today’s smartphone market.
Xiaomi covers every possible market segment, with 58 smartphone models currently listed on the global website. Products include phones starting at $100, state-of-the-art foldables like the Mi Mix Fold, and flagship phones like the Mi 11 Ultra, which has a second rear screen in the camera bump and a huge 50MP, 1/1.12-inch sensor. Xiaomi is aggressive in its home market of China – the world’s largest smartphone market – and is a major player in India, the second largest market in the world. The company does not conduct smartphone business in the US.
As for Samsung, where Xiaomi blew past to become No. 1, Counterpoint says the company is facing temporary difficulties due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in Vietnam. In addition to China and the company’s home country of South Korea, Samsung has large phone factories in Vietnam. Counterpoint Senior Analyst Varun Mishra said: “Samsung’s production was disrupted in June, resulting in a shortage of the brand’s devices across channels. Xiaomi, with its strong mid-range portfolio and broad market coverage, benefited most from the short-term gap left by Samsung’s A series.”
“Once Samsung recovers, the ranks are likely to shuffle again,” the site adds.
Despite Counterpoint’s claims that Samsung’s problems are temporary, Samsung doesn’t seem happy with its second place in the market. According to a report from South Korean site The Elec, Samsung Electronics is expanding its management review of its mobile business, a step Samsung takes, according to The Elec, “when top management believes there is a problem with a particular business unit.”
The report says that “Samsung will most likely miss its sales target for the Galaxy S21,” which has so far sold 13.5 million units in the first half of the year. During the same period, the previous model, the S20, sold in the mid-20 million mark, while older Galaxy S models sold around 30 million. You could argue that customers keep smartphones longer, but Xiaomi doesn’t seem to have those problems.
Samsung has been in a holding pattern since the company’s leader, Lee Jae-yong (aka Jay Y. Lee), remains in jail on bribery charges. This month, Lee has a parole hearing that could lead to his release, and some people in South Korea are even lobbying for Lee’s pardon given Samsung’s large role in the South Korean economy (the company represents about 15 percent of the GDP of South Korea). The Elec speculates that with Samsung’s leader likely to be released from prison soon, a review of key business divisions may already be under way so that Lee can make swift decisions on his release.