In Q3 2020, the global smartphone market seemed to embark on a recovery trajectory following a worrisome Q2 2020.
According to the research data analyzed and published by Comprar Acciones, the market grew by 32% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) with a total of 365.6 million unit sales worldwide. However, when compared to its sales in Q3 2019, there was a 4% decline.
Canalys data for the same period differed slightly but painted a similar picture. It showed a total of 348 million smartphone unit sales globally, a 22% increase QoQ, and a 1% decline year-over-year (YoY).
Among the contributing factors to the growth were eased lockdown conditions in key markets like Latin America, India and the US. Moreover, there was pent-up demand resulting from previous lockdowns.
Samsung’s Global Shipments Surge by 47% as Huawei’s Sales Decline by 7%
Following a 27% YoY decline in Q2 2020, Samsung staged a remarkable comeback in Q3 2020. Its global shipments increased by 47% QoQ and 2% YoY. Both Canalys and Counterpoint showed an estimate of 80 million shipments.
During Q2 2020, Samsung had posted a 27% decline YoY. Meanwhile, its Q3 2020 earnings report totaled KRW 66.96 trillion ($59 billion). It was 25% higher than in Q2 2020 when its revenue was KRW 52.97 trillion ($47 billion) and 8% higher than during Q3 2019 when it generated KRW 62 trillion ($55 billion).
The $59 billion Q3 2020 revenue surpassed Samsung’s previous all-time high posted in Q3 2018 when its revenue amounted to KRW 65.46 trillion ($58 billion).
Operating profit for Q3 2020 surged by 59% YoY to KRW 12.35 trillion ($10.9 billion) from KRW 7.78 trillion ($6.7 billion) in Q3 2019. Compared to Q2 2020, there was a 52% increase in operating profit.
Contributing to its strong rebound was its performance in India, where it overtook Xiaomi to become the top-selling smartphone brand. According to Counterpoint, its market share in India went from 20% in Q3 2019 to 24% in Q3 2020. During the same period, Xiaomi’s share dropped from 26% to 23%.
Huawei, which came in second, was the only leading brand that did not post sequential growth in comparison to Q2 2020. Its shipments for Q3 2020 were in the environs of 51 million according to both shipment reports. The YoY decline in shipments was 24% and 7% QoQ. Potential causes of its significant drop were the absence of Google services and semiconductor supplies resulting from US sanctions.
Overall, Huawei’s revenue slowed down during the first nine months of 2020, as it posted only 9.9% growth. During a similar period in 2019, its revenue had grown by 24.4%.
Xiaomi Overtakes Apple with 13% Market Share, 75% Upsurge in Shipments
For the first time, Xiaomi overtook Apple as the brand with the third highest number of global smartphone shipments in Q3 2020. Its shipments for the period were around 46 million, marking a 46% YoY increase and 75% QoQ increase.
As a result, it took a 13% share of the market compared to Apple’s 11%. Apple’s shipments for the period totaled around 42 million, marking an 11% increase QoQ and a 7% drop YoY.
Xiaomi excelled in China with shipments increasing by 8% YoY and 35% QoQ. Moreover, it experienced rapid expansion in new markets like Europe, MEA and LATAM at Huawei’s expense.
In total, the top three smartphone brands (Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi) sold around 177 million units in Q3 2020.
Notably though, Xiaomi was the only major OEM to post positive growth in China in Q3 2020. Compared to Q3 2019, the Chinese smartphone market declined by 14%. There was a slight QoQ growth however, at 6%.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the Chinese economy is on its way to recovery. In Q3 2020, it grew by 4.9% compared to a 6.8% contraction in Q1 and a mild 3.2% growth in Q2. However, domestic consumption remained relatively weak alongside a worsening unemployment rate. In September 2020, the jobless rate in the country’s urban areas increased by 0.2% while unemployment among college graduates rose by 4%.
Apple’s iPhone 11 was the best-selling smartphone model in China during the quarter, with a 55% market share. But due to the postponement of iPhone 12’s debut, Apple sales volume overall dropped by 7% YoY.
Huawei was the market leader in terms of market share, grabbing a 45% lead down from 46% in Q2 2020. Xiaomi posted significant growth, increasing its market share to 11% from 9% in Q2 2020.
Of the top 10 best-selling smartphones in the country, seven had 5G capabilities, six of them being Huawei models.