07 Nov 2020

The rise and rise of Xiaomi

The rise and rise of Xiaomi

Move over Apple, Huawei and Samsung. There is a new challenger to the global smartphone throne. Renowned for delivering decent hardware specifications at budget prices, Lei Jun’s Xiaomi has been steadily climbing the ranks while Apple, Huawei and Samsung have been battling each other for years. Now, it seems that the quiet Xiaomi has crept above Apple into the top three spots for the first time. 

Xiaomi has seen steady growth ever since its inception, but for the longest time, its growth as a smartphone brand was largely based on its shipments in India and China. Now, for the first time ever, Xiaomi’s smartphone shipment numbers depict a clear reflection of its growing stature in global markets. Smartphone market shipment data from research firms such as IDC, Counterpoint and Canalys, while containing slight differences, have all largely reflected massive, double-digit growth for Xiaomi in its global smartphone shipments, and this has caused Xiaomi to leap over Apple into the third spot, and it almost toppled its Chinese rival Huawei in the global smartphone shipment charts.

According to data from Canalys, Xiaomi grew from shipping 32.5 million smartphones in the July-September quarter of 2019 to 47.1 million devices in the same quarter in 2020. This is a 45 percent growth in Xiaomi’s shipments, leaving it with a 13.5 percent market and just 4.6 million units short of Huawei’s shipments. In contrast, Apple fell to the fourth spot despite While its overall market share still increased marginally to 12.4 percent, its overall shipments fell by 1 percent since the past year. 

Data from Counterpoint Research and IDC vary slightly but all the numbers point to the same conclusion – Xiaomi is becoming more dominant in the global smartphone markets. Its recent flagship smartphone launch, with the Mi 10T, was held in Europe, showing clear signs of intent towards moving beyond its major markets in India and China.

To try and regain the third spot, Apple is relying on its recent iPhone 12 launches. It remains to be seen if there will be another reshuffling of the global smartphone charts in Q4 2020. With Apple increasingly being seen as pricey and Huawei continuing to be besieged with sanctions, analysts are already predicting that it will be a matter of time before Xiaomi leapfrogs over Huawei into the 2nd spot.