Q3 smartphone sales fall 6.8% as demand outstrips component supplies

Apple reclaims second place in market share from Xiaomi as everyone fights global chip shortages to meet growing consumer demand.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

Quarterly smartphone sales reportedly fell 6.8%, year over year, as continued supply chain disruptions prevented manufacturers from meeting consumer demand. 

According to Gartner's latest survey of the global smartphone market, limitations in components such as radio frequency and power management chips produced production shortfalls across the globe. The impact, which affected all major smartphone manufacturers, resulted in sales of just over 342 million units, down from Q3 2020's 366 million shipments.

Samsung's in-house component and chip production allowed it to remain firmly in first place, capturing 20.2% of the market, despite a 1.9% year-over-year drop in share. It was also helped along by strong sales across its premium smartphone lines, with Gartner taking particular note of impressive shipment figures for its latest foldable smartphone updates. 

Apple recaptured second place, unseating Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, by rising from 3.1% to 14.1% of the market. The company's success was powered by a combination of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro launches, as well as fervent attempts to weather supply chain bottlenecks. Despite being knocked down to third place, Xiaomi grew by 0.9% to hold 13% of all sales, thanks to its growing alliances with European and Middle Eastern communications providers, according to Gartner. 

Xiaomi's fellow Chinese smartphone makers Vivo and OPPO rounded out the top five, with Vivo showing the strongest growth of any company on the list as it reached 10.5% of the market for fourth place. It, too, was helped along by growing sales in Europe and the Middle East, as well as expanded offline distribution channel partnerships. This jump in shipments broke the tie at 8.1% of the market it had held with OPPO one year ago. Fifth-place OPPO also grew, but more modestly, finishing the quarter with 9.8% of all shipments. 

Editorial standards