Samsung has been finding it hard to retain the crown of the world's biggest smartphone vendor in recent years. The Korean company has already lost the top spot in several regional markets to Chinese rivals. Most notably, it's slipping down in price-sensitive markets such as India, where Chinese giant Xiaomi has risen as the top player. Another Chinese biggie Huawei is right on the heels of Samsung in the global scenario.
Now, it appears the Korean giant's struggles have been coupled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing global health crisis has effected smartphone vendors around the world but seemingly none more so than Samsung.
According to a recent report by market research firm Omdia, Samsung had only one model in the top ten most-shipped smartphones in the first half of 2020. The Galaxy A51, which was the best-selling Android smartphone in Q1 2020, continued to attract buyers throughout the whole first half of the year.
The Samsung mid-ranger shipped 11.4 million during the first six months of 2020. It came second only to the Apple iPhone 11, which shipped a whopping 37.7 million units during the period. However, it was the Galaxy smartphone in the top ten. No other Samsung device managed to exceed even 6.7 million shipments, according to Omdia.
In comparison, the Korean company had four models in the top ten in the first half of 2019. The Galaxy A10, Galaxy A50, Galaxy J2 Core, and the Galaxy A30 combined to sell more than 44 million units during the same period last year.
Xiaomi dominated the Android smartphone market in H1 2020
Omdia’s list of top ten most-shipped smartphones of H1 2020 feature as many as four Xiaomi smartphones. The Redmi Note 8 and Note 8 Pro were the company's most popular phones, selling 11.0 million and 10.2 million units respectively. The Redmi 8A and Redmi 8 also find themselves in the top ten. Xiaomi had only two models in the top ten last year.
Four more Apple iPhones – iPhone SE (2020), iPhone XR, iPhone 11 Pro, and Pro Max – complete this year's list. Interestingly, the iPhone SE (2020) only launched in the second quarter of 2020. The fact that iPhone 11, the cheapest 2019 iPhone model, managed to outsell the three most popular Android smartphones is another interesting bit in Omdia's report.
Overall, the top ten best-selling smartphones in the first half of 2020 combined to ship 115.5 million units globally. The figure for the same period last year comes at 121.8 million units. That's not much of a difference but a decline in shipments is surely an effect of the pandemic-induced economic recession.
The smartphone market has also become much more price-sensitive during the pandemic. The four Xiaomi models in the top ten are all priced under $170, with two of them going below the $100 mark. No Android flagship could break into the top ten. It remains to be seen how the smartphone market evolves in the second half of the year.