Samsung Remains Top Smartphone OEM, Apple Is Fourth: Counterpoint

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Market research firm Counterpoint Research has published detailed breakdowns of the Q3 2020 global smartphone shipment. The overall story remains the same: Samsung has regained the top spot it briefly lost to Huawei; Xiaomi has leapfrogged Apple to claim the third spot; Realme has become the fastest smartphone brand to hit 50 million cumulative shipments globally.

However, the newly published report now provides breakdowns of regional markets, along with some additional insights. According to the report, global smartphone shipment declined 4-percent year-on-year (YoY) in Q3 2020. But the market saw signs of recovery after the COVID-19 lockdowns, growing 32-percent from the previous quarter to reach 366 million units.

Indian smartphone market saw the highest quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) growth rate of 188 percent. The second-largest smartphone market even surpassed the pre-COVID levels, growing at 9-percent YoY to reach 53 million units. Smartphone shipments in the Middle-East and Africa (MEA) region also grew 2-percent YoY.


Samsung had lost the top spot to Huawei in Q2 when the first wave of lockdowns and quarantine around the world was at its peak. Since markets in China were already open in Q2, Huawei phones had sold strongly in the domestic market. However, once the global market re-opened, Samsung regained the crown from the Chinese giant.

The Korean company shipped 80.4 million smartphone units in Q3 2020, its highest-ever quarterly shipments in the last three years. The numbers marked a strong 48-percent QoQ and 3-percent YoY growth.

Apple delayed the launch of the iPhone 12 series from Q3 to Q4 in 2020. This delay means its shipments declined 7-percent YoY in the third quarter, allowing Xiaomi to leapfrog it to the third spot. The Chinese company itself grew a strong 75-percent QoQ. Realme shipments grew 132-percent QoQ in Q3 2020.

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Counterpoint research q3 2020 smartphone shipment

Samsung is in the top five in every region

Counterpoint Research has also provided a regional breakdown of the smartphone market share of the top five vendors in every region. While Chinese companies dominated the Asian market, Samsung finds itself at the spot in Europe, Latin America, and the MEA.

Apple led the North American smartphone market and is the second-biggest vendor in Europe. However, it doesn’t make it into the top five elsewhere. Samsung is the only vendor in the top five in all five regions.


Counterpoint research regional smartphone market share q3 2020

The feature phone market is declining

Along with smartphones, Counterpoint Research has also published its analysis on the feature phone market. The market is, unsurprisingly, declining globally. Q3 2020 saw a YoY drop of 17-percent in feature phone shipment, with shipment volume reaching just about 74 million units.

China’s Transsion Group led the scene, capturing over 35-percent of the total market share. Its iTel and Tecno brands captured 24-percent and 10-percent of the global market respectively. HMD (Nokia), Samsung, and Lava also make it into the top five feature phone vendors globally.


Counterpoint research q3 2020 feature phone shipment

Region-wise, the MEA region is still the largest market for feature phones, accounting for 37-percent of the global shipments this past quarter. Indian feature phone market is also almost as big as the MEA region though, with a 36-percent share of the global market. Transsion-owned iTel is the first-choice brand of feature phone buyers in both regions. In India, iTel’s shipments grew 41-percent YoY and 193-percent QoQ in Q3 2020.

North America saw a sharp decline of 75-percent YoY and 50-percent QoQ in feature phone shipment during the third quarter. Alcatel is still the preferred feature phone brand in the region, with over 50-percent market share. HMD (Nokia) is the favorite brand of feature phone buyers in Europe and the Rest of Asia (excluding India). Local brands Multilaser, Positivo, and Bmobile dominated the feature phone market in Latin America.


Counterpoint research q3 2020 feature phone market share regional