Phone sales

Xiaomi overtakes Apple in third-quarter phone sales, Samsung’s top seller: report

  • Chinese tech company Xiaomi sold nearly 5 million more smartphones than Apple in the third quarter, according to a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) released Thursday.
  • Samsung returned to the top-selling spot, pushing out Huawei, which has struggled with US restrictions.
  • Global smartphone sales were down 1.3% year-on-year, but markets like India and Brazil are booming, according to IDC.
  • Samsung has sold nearly twice as many phones as Apple, whose numbers were hit by the delayed iPhone 12 launch.
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Chinese tech company Xiaomi overtook Apple as the world’s third-largest smartphone seller in the third quarter of the year, according to a new report.

Xiaomi sold 46.5 million devices, nearly 5 million more than Apple, whose numbers were hit hard by the late launch of the iPhone 12, the International Data Corporation said.

Samsung returned to the top spot, pushing out Huawei, which struggled to cope with US sanctions.

Third-quarter global smartphone sales fell 1.3% year-on-year, IDC says report released Thursday. This is a drop well below the 9% drop that the IDC had forecast, as economies began to recover from the pandemic and phone sales increased in India, Brazil, Indonesia and in Russia.

Here’s how Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple and Vivo ranked, based on global sales in the quarter to September, according to IDC data.

#1 Samsung – 80.4 million

samsung event cox 6

Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Samsung now accounts for nearly one in four smartphones sold worldwide, the IDC reported.

The South Korean company’s sales increased almost in India, Samsung’s biggest market, due to strong demand for cheaper models and its M series.

Customers in the United States, its second largest market, preferred its A-series, alongside the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.

Samsung posted its highest-ever quarterly revenue of $59 billion on Thursday, but warned that growing smartphone competition could affect fourth-quarter sales.

#2Huawei – 51.9 million

Huawei Mate XS

The Huawei Mate XS.

Isobel Hamilton / Business Insider

Samsung’s strong performance knocked Huawei down to second place.

The Chinese company’s third-quarter sales fell 22% from the same period last year, and it sold nearly 30 million fewer phones than Samsung.

Besides the continued decline in international sales, Huawei’s sales in China also fell more than 15% as US sanctions affected its performance in its domestic market, the IDC said.

#3 Xiaomi – 46.5 million

xiaomi mi mix alpha mkbhd 2


Xiaomi posted a 42% increase in sales in the third quarter, lifting it to third place, which the IDC attributes to its continued strong presence in China.

The company is also increasingly selling phones to customers outside of China, the IDC added, with almost half of its phones sold overseas, including strong growth in India.

Xiaomi’s cheaper phones, such as the Redmi 9 series, also sold well in India and China, the IDC noted. The company now has 13.1% of the smartphone market.

Apple #4 – 41.6 million

iPhone 12

Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

iPhone sales, meanwhile, fell 10.6% year-on-year, dropping Apple to the world’s fourth-largest smartphone supplier with 11.8% market share.

This is a sharp drop for the US company, which topped IDC’s list in the fourth quarter of 2019, when it accounted for nearly one in five global smartphone sales.

The drop is mainly due to the delayed launch of the iPhone 12, the IDC said, but it expects iPhone sales to increase in the next quarter now that the new model is out.

Apple yesterday reported iPhone sales slightly below analysts’ expectations, which were boosted by significant growth in apparel and services sales.

#5 Long live – 31.5 million

About one in every 11 smartphones purchased globally is a Vivo model, the IDC reported.

While the Chinese company’s global sales were up just 4.2% year-on-year, sales of its cheaper models were up nearly 30% in India.