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Apple shrinks and Huawei inches closer to ruin in global smartphone market share for the first quarter of 2021

Both Apple and Huawei have lost market share but iPhone revenues have been massive. (Image source: Unsplash/AsiaTimes - edited)
Both Apple and Huawei have lost market share but iPhone revenues have been massive. (Image source: Unsplash/AsiaTimes - edited)
Research firm Counterpoint has published a report about global smartphone market share by quarter, including the first quarter of 2021. Apple has shrunk a little but still remains strong and Samsung looks solid as ever. However, Huawei’s situation seems perilous as the Chinese OEM has slipped from 20% share to just 4% in under a year.
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Counterpoint has issued some figures concerning the global smartphone market share, covering the first quarter of 2018 up to the first quarter of 2021. There are quite a few interesting points to notice, such as the yellow sliver representing Realme enjoy steady growth from 2019 onwards, and OPPO and Vivo maintaining decent amounts of share over the measured time period. Unsurprisingly, Samsung has mostly stayed in the top position in terms of global smartphone market share, briefly giving up its spot to Apple at the end of 2020 and tying with Huawei in Q2 2020.

At that point, Huawei was looking massively strong, holding on to 20% of the global smartphone market share and even beating out Apple (14%) while enjoying double the share of domestic rival Xiaomi (10%). But the well-reported fallout with the US and subsequent bans and sanctions by numerous countries have left Huawei in an unenviable position: 4% share in Q1 2021 with just 15.0 million smartphones shipped compared to 66.8 million in Q3 2019. The lower smartphone market share can be partially attributed to the unloading of the Honor sub-brand but there’s no denying that Huawei seems to be in dire straits.

Apple has also witnessed some shrinkage over the quarter, dropping from 21% to 17%. However, while Huawei’s situation is reminiscent of a sinking ship, Apple's is more like a pleasure cruise simply steering through choppy waters: Thanks to the relative higher prices of iPhones compared to devices from other brands, Apple’s revenue share for the global smartphone market in Q1 2021 stands at a whopping 42% (Samsung 17.5%, Xiaomi 7.6%). So physical shipments may have fallen from 81.9 million to 59.5 million units but those high iPhone price tags will keep the creditors at bay.

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Global smartphone market share. (Image source: Counterpoint)
Global smartphone market share. (Image source: Counterpoint)
Global smartphone OEM revenue share. (Image source: Counterpoint)
Global smartphone OEM revenue share. (Image source: Counterpoint)

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Daniel R Deakin
Daniel R Deakin - Managing Editor News - 2334 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
My interest in technology began after I was presented with an Atari 800XL home computer in the mid-1980s. I especially enjoy writing about technological advances, compelling rumors, and intriguing tech-related leaks. I have a degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies and count my family, reading, writing, and travel as the main passions of my life. I have been with Notebookcheck since 2012.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 05 > Apple shrinks and Huawei inches closer to ruin in global smartphone market share for the first quarter of 2021
Daniel R Deakin, 2021-05- 2 (Update: 2021-05- 2)