iPhone 13 launch timings see Apple take 2nd place in global smartphone shipments

IDC is out with its latest estimate of global smartphone shipments, and it says that Apple overtook Xiaomi in Q3 to take second place after Samsung. While the market intelligence company describes iPhone growth as “incredible,” this is in large part down to timing.

There was also good news for Apple in China…

IDC showed iPhone shipments climb from 41.7M in Q3 2020 to 50.4M in the same quarter this year. That’s a 20.8% year-on-year rise, and enough to see Apple’s market share climb from 11.7% to 15.2%.

That was against a background of an overall decline in the smartphone market.

The double-digit growth in the smartphone market in the early quarters of 2021 came to an end in the third quarter of 2021 (3Q21) as worldwide shipments declined 6.7% year over year […] Although a slight decline was expected in the seasonally low third quarter, the actual decline were over twice the forecast of -2.9% growth […]

Apple regained the second position with 50.4 million units shipped for 15.2% market share and an incredible 20.8% year-over-year growth.

However, as we noted earlier in the week, that’s in large part down to timings.

Historically, launch sales of the latest iPhones are made in September, which is part of Apple’s fiscal Q4 (aka calendar Q3). That was true of every launch from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 8.

Things got messier after that, however, and last year’s iPhone 12 launch was among those to see a later launch. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro went on sale in October, while the mini and Pro Max weren’t available until November. That means exactly none of those sales contributed to Apple’s fiscal Q4 revenue. In contrast, the iPhone 13 went on sale on September 24, providing a week’s worth of Q4 sales.

A separate report from Counterpoint highlighted good news for Apple in China, where the overall year-on-year decline in smartphone sales was an even higher 9% – but Apple achieved a stunning 48% growth. The company’s market share rose from 8% to 13%.

China’s smartphone sales in Q3 2021 declined 9% YoY but increased 3% QoQ to reach 76.5 million units, according to Counterpoint Research’s Monthly Market Pulse Service […]

Apple’s ranking stayed unchanged in Q3 2021, but it is expected to rise in Q4 2021 with the debut of the iPhone 13 series.”

Photo: Screen Post/Unsplash

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