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Xiaomi overtakes Apple as number two smartphone vendor for first time

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Right on Samsung’s heels

A phone repair store at a technology market in Shenzhen, China.
Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge

Xiaomi is now the second largest smartphone vendor based on worldwide shipments in the second quarter of 2021, according to a new report from Canalys. The Chinese company captured 17 percent of global market share, according to the research firm, just behind Samsung’s 19 percent but ahead of Apple’s 14 percent.

BBK’s Oppo and Vivo rounded out the list of top five vendors at 10 percent apiece. All five companies grew their shipments year on year, but what’s notable is just how much Xiaomi has managed to increase its volume — it shipped 83 percent more phones than in Q2 2020, whereas Samsung grew shipments 15 percent and Apple by just one percent.

“Xiaomi is growing its overseas business rapidly,” Canalys Research Manager Ben Stanton says, citing sales boosts in regions including Western Europe, Africa, and Latin America. “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.”

Canalys says global smartphone shipments grew by 12 percent last quarter. Much of the growth seen by smartphone makers is at the expense of Huawei, however, which itself overtook Apple in 2019 but has since been essentially shut out of the worldwide market due to US-imposed sanctions and trading bans. So far, Xiaomi appears to be the biggest beneficiary.