Xiaomi outpaces Apple in Q2 smartphone shipments

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The Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold.
The Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has outpaced Apple in smartphone shipments, as global demand for mobile devices surges.

The latest report by tech research firm Canalys says Xiaomi took second spot after Samsung in the second quarter (Q2) of this year, leaving Apple in third place, followed by Vivo and Oppo to complete the list of top five smartphone manufacturers.

Canalys says global smartphone shipments increased 12%, as vaccines rolled out around the world, and the new normal for economies and citizens started to take shape.

In the period, Samsung was the leading vendor with a 19% share of smartphones shipped. Xiaomi took second place for the first time, with a 17% share. Apple was third, with 14%, while Vivo and Oppo also maintained strong growth momentum.

Xiaomi’s shipments increased more than 300% in Latin America, 150% in Africa and 50% in Western Europe.

“Xiaomi is growing its overseas business rapidly,” says Ben Stanton, Canalys research manager.

“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.

“It is still largely skewed toward the mass market, however, and compared with Samsung and Apple, its average selling price is around 40% and 75% cheaper respectively. So a major priority for Xiaomi this year is to grow sales of its high-end devices, such as the Mi 11 Ultra.”

The Canalys report comes as Xiaomi is looking to snatch market share in SA from Huawei and Samsung, as competition in the market heats up.

According to Statista, as of last month, Samsung was the market leader locally, with 45.28% market share of mobile device vendors in SA. Huawei ranked second, with almost 29%, followed by Apple with 16%.

Xiaomi is now seeking to displace some of the manufacturers from the list, and is hunting for new partnerships with network operators, with deals expected to be announced in the next few months.

Nonetheless, Canalys cautions it will not be an easy ride for Xiaomi to maintain the accelerated pace, as it faces a tough battle with Oppo and Vivo, which have the same ambition.

Stanton notes Oppo and Vivo share the same objective, and both are willing to spend big on above-the-line marketing to build their brands in a way that Xiaomi is not.

“All vendors are fighting hard to secure component supply amid global shortages, but Xiaomi already has its sights set on the next prize: displacing Samsung to become the world’s largest vendor.”

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