Samsung reclaims top spot from Huawei in terms of global smartphone sales

- Samsung reclaims top spot from Huawei in terms of global smartphone sales
- Xiaomi beat Apple for the first time to grab the 3rd position
- Vivo returned to the Top 5
- Oppo, Realme, Lenovo and Transsion (Tecno, Infinix and Itel)ranked 6th - 10th.

Samsung has overtaken the Chinese company Huawei to reclaim its top spot in terms of global smartphone sales. This is coming few weeks after Samsung ranked the fifth position in Interbrand best global brands of 2020.

According to IDC, 353.6 million smartphones were shipped during the third quarter of 2020 (3Q2020). The worldwide smartphone market showed signs of improvement in the 3Q20 with shipments declining just 1.3% year over year, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

India, which is the second largest market globally, witnessed very strong volumes during the quarter despite further concerns around the COVID pandemic. Other emerging markets, such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia, which rank fourth, fifth, and sixth in the world, also experienced strong growth. Larger, more developed markets like China, Western Europe, and North America all witnessed the largest declines in 3Q20.

Top 5 smartphone brands globally

Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple and Vivo grabs 1st – 5th position while Oppo, Realme, Lenovo and Transsion (Tecno, Infinix and Itel) ranked 6th – 10th.

Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker October 2020


Korean handset maker Samsung reclaimed the top position in 3Q20 with a market share of 22.7% after shipping 80.4 million smartphones, up 2.9% year over year.

In India, the largest market for Samsung and accounting for 15% of total volume, the brand significantly improved its position with close to 40% growth year over year thanks to its strong performance in the under $250 price segment and the online channel where its M series models did quite well. In the US, the South Korean tech giant momentum was strong for the A series with good performances from the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra as well, which contributed to almost 20% of total volume in 3Q20


Huawei shipped 51.9 million smartphones in 3Q2020 with a market share of 14.7%. The Chinese phone maker ranks second after Samsung surpassed the company in 3Q2020. Huawei suffered a large drop in international markets and a drop of more than 15% in China due to the challenges from the U.S sanctions.


The youngest smartphone company among the top 5, Xiaomi beat Apple for the first time to grab the third position with 46.5 million devices shipped globally, 13.1% share and 42.0% growth. Xiaomi’s low-end portfolio, particularly the Redmi 9 Series, did well in both India and China. Xiaomi also launched the mid-range Redmi K30 Ultra and high-end MI 10 Ultra in China, which further captured consumers’ attention.


Apple shipped 41.6 million iPhones in 3Q20, down 10.6% year over year, which placed the company in fourth for the first time with 11.8% share. This drop was expected and is mainly due to the delay in the launch of the new iPhone 12 series, which is usually in the third quarter. The iPhone 11 series contributed to the majority of Apple’s volume, followed by the SE device.


Vivo returned to the Top 5 this quarter with 31.5 million units shipped for 4.2% year-over-year growth and 8.9% market share. In China, the brand enhanced the market positions of its S, iQOO, and X series phones that helped continue its strong presence there.

Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers said “While some of the topline numbers may not seem pretty, we are seeing a lot of improvement in the smartphone market both in terms of supply chains and consumer demand,”

“In the large developed markets, it is very clear that 5G will be positioned to most consumers as their next phone regardless of which brand or price point they are focused on. Marketing has ramped up significantly. Products are widely available. Promotions are happening. And it’s clear that the top sales initiative in these markets is to push 5G. Having said this, we still believe consumer demand for 5G is minimal at best, which only adds to the price pressure on channels and OEMs.”

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. To learn more about IDC, please visit Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn.

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