Global Smartphone Market Grows 13.2% in Q2/21 Despite Vendor Shakeups

The rebound from 2020 continued for smartphones in Q2/21, as overall shipment volumes grew 13.2% year over year, according to International Data Corporation, slightly beating IDC’s forecast of 12.5% growth. According to preliminary data from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 313.2 million devices during the quarter. Every region contributed to the overall growth except for China, where the lack of flagship product launches, weaker than expected demand and the further decline of the Huawei brand pulled the market down 10% compared with Q2/20.

“The smartphone market has been fortunate enough to not experience the severe supply constraints as the automotive, PC and display industries,” Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s mobile and consumer device trackers, said. “The pandemic is far from over, yet consumers around the world continue to show the need for mobile devices and a willingness to spend in these categories. Shipments of 5G devices are on the rise, especially as price points go down, but we continue to believe that consumers are not yet buying specifically for 5G. They are buying because they need a replacement device and, in some cases, a first-time smartphone.”

With Huawei shipments continuing to decline and the recent announcement that LG is exiting the smartphone business, market share is up for grabs. This resulted in some significant shifts in market positions in the quarter. Most notably, Xiaomi moved into the second position for the first time, moving Apple to third. In the markets where Huawei and LG are strongest (China and the U.S., respectively), companies faced different chances of gaining market share. In the U.S., Motorola, TCL and OnePlus experienced year-over-year gains beyond what they have seen in recent years due to LG’s departure. In China, Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo and Apple continued to gain from Huawei’s rapid decline.

“China’s role in Apple’s incredible growth in the last few quarters cannot be denied. Huawei had significant share in the high-end segment in China, and with its massive decline, Apple remained the best option for consumers in this segment. In the previous quarter (1Q21), Apple had already captured 72% share of the [more than $800] segment in China, with Huawei falling to just 24%. This is a clear sign that other players in this market have not breached this price segment,” Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s mobile and consumer device trackers, said. “Globally, all Chinese brands are growing rapidly, with Xiaomi hitting record volume this quarter and year-over-year growth of 86.6%. Another rising star is realme, which saw the fastest year-over-year growth among the top 10 at 149% and more than three quarters of its volume coming from outside China. As all these Chinese brands increase their focus in regions like Europe, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa, the competition will only get more intense for the likes of Samsung and other players in those markets.”

Top Five Smartphone Companies, Worldwide Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q2/21 (shipments in millions of units)
Company Q2/21 Shipment Volumes Q2/21 Market Share Q2/20 Shipment Volumes Q2/20 Market Share Year-Over-Year Change
1. Samsung 59 18.8% 54 19.5% 9.3%
2. Xiaomi 53.1 16.9% 28.5 10.3% 86.6%
3. Apple 44.2 14.1% 37.6 13.6% 17.8%
4. OPPO 32.8 10.5% 24 8.7% 37%
5. vivo 31.6 10.1% 23.7 8.6% 33.7%
Others 92.4 29.5% 109 39.4% -15.2%
Total 313.2 100% 276.6 100% 13.2%
Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, July 28, 2021


  • Data are preliminary and subject to change.
  • Company shipments are branded device shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.
  • The “company” represents the current parent company (or holding company) for all brands owned and operated as a subsidiary.
  • Figures represent new shipments only and exclude refurbished units.

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