Tuesday, 01 December 2020 08:50

Xiaomi third in global 3Q smartphone sales, pushes Apple to fourth

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Xiaomi third in global 3Q smartphone sales, pushes Apple to fourth Pixabay

Global smartphone sales to end-users fell by 5.7% year-on-year to 366 million units in the third quarter, the technology analyst firm Gartner says, adding that the Chinese vendor Xiaomi moved ahead of Apple during the quarter to become the third-ranked smartphone vendor globally.

The analyst firm also noted that overall sales for the quarter were 401 million units, a drop of 8.7% year-on year.

Asked about the two differing figures, a Gartner spokeswoman pointed out that there were three kinds of mobile phones: basic, premium and utility.

"A premium phone is a device that offers a rich communication experience, such as the latest processor, advanced camera functions (multi-camera, depth sensor, wide-angle lens) and hardware; with premium materials for the case and hardware, high-end screen technology and virtual personal assistant integration," the spokeswoman said.

"A basic phone is a device generally running Android but with limited features and lower technology advancements compared to premium phones. This translates into lack of high-end camera hardware (such as depth sensor) and lower-end screen technology with a resolution of 1080p and higher.

"Utility phones are a mix of voice-centric and entry-level data experience devices, generally low-cost (below US$90 (A$122.50) street price), with limited specifications and functions. It is mainly targeted at emerging markets and first-time users and is often used for pre-paid subscriptions in developed markets."

gartner 3q smartphones

The Gartner note said the decline in the third quarter was much smaller than those seen in the first two quarters, when sales fell by 20% each time.

“Consumers are limiting their discretionary spend even as some lockdown conditions have started to improve,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner.

“Global smartphone sales experienced moderate growth from the second quarter of 2020 to the third quarter. This was due to pent-up demand from previous quarters.”

As far as vendors were concerned, Samsung kept its first spot, followed by Huawei. Apple came in fourth, with OPPO making up the top five.

Gupta said there were signs of a sales recovery in some markets. “Early signs of recovery can be seen in a few markets, including parts of mature Asia/Pacific and Latin America," he commented.

"Near normal conditions in China improved smartphone production to fill in the supply gap in the third quarter which benefited sales to some extent. “For the first time this year, smartphone sales to end-users in three of the top five markets — India, Indonesia and Brazil — increased, growing 9.3%, 8.5% and 3.3%, respectively.”

Apple's sales during the quarter fell by 0.6% year-on year, totalling 40.5 million units. “The slight decrease was mainly due to Apple’s delayed shipment start of its new 2020 iPhone generation, which in previous years would always start mid/end September. This year, the launch event and shipment start began four weeks later than usual,” explained Gartner Research vice-president Annette Zimmermann.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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