Smartphone

Apple’s iPhone was the undisputed premium smartphone leader in Q2 2021

Apple's iPhone was the undisputed premium smartphone leader in Q2 2021

The iPhone is the best-selling smartphone in the world, but Apple’s market share isn’t the highest — that is usually Samsung. Things change when we narrow things down to the premium smartphone market, though, as new data shows.

The iPhone accounted for almost 75% of ultra-premium smartphone sales

Counterpoint Research reports that the premium smartphone market, which includes devices retailing above $400, experienced impressive 46% year-on-year sales growth during the second quarter of 2021.Premium smartphone sales accounted for 24% of the total smartphone shipments, up from 21% twelve months earlier. Unsurprisingly, most of that growth can be attributed to the iPhone.

Apple retained its position as the world’s largest premium smartphone manufacturer with an outstanding 57% share of shipments during the quarter. A year earlier, the brand accounted for a still-impressive 48% of sales.

Sales of premium iPhone models skyrocketed an incredible 74% in the second quarter thanks to the continued momentum of the iPhone 12 series, which received a discount earlier this week following the iPhone 13 announcement.

Focusing solely on what Counterpoint calls the ultra-premium segment, essentially devices priced above $800, it experienced 182% year-on-year growth and Apple’s iPhone accounted for almost 75% of sales, up around 20 percentage points.

Apple was the largest premium smartphone brand in every region of the world, thanks in part to the brand’s ability to absorb lost Huawei sales in competitive regions like Europe and China.

It’s believed that Apple could sustain its current market share levels throughout the rest of 2021 and even in 2022, thanks to a continued supercycle and customer interest in upgrading to 5G devices.

Samsung’s premium smartphone sales grew, but its market share didn’t

Samsung continued as the second premium brand, experiencing a volume boost of 13% year on year. Since that was below the average market growth, however, Galaxy market share decreased to 17% from 22%.

The report notes that Samsung was affected by disruptions to its supply chain in Vietnam following another COVID-19 outbreak. The brand is well-positioned with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 to experience a surge in Q3 and Q4, though.

On a regional basis, Samsung was the second-largest premium smartphone supplier in all regions except China, where recent Huawei devices continue to be sold in respectable volumes.

Xiaomi and Oppo performed well in Europe and China

Speaking of Huawei, it occupied joint third place with Xiaomi and a 6% market share. That’s impressive considering the countless issues it has faced since the most recent US trade restrictions were introduced a year ago.Nevertheless, in the second quarter of 2020 Huawei’s premium market share stood at a much higher 17%. Xiaomi, on the other hand, experienced stronger sales thanks to its continued expansion in Europe and China.

A similar picture can be painted for Oppo, which completed the premium segment’s top 5 with a decent 5% share of sales. It’s expected to continue growing in the coming quarters and could eventually be a real Samsung rival.

OnePlus became the third-largest premium brand in the US

One noteworthy mention is OnePlus, which beat the likes of Google, LG, and Motorola to become the third-largest premium smartphone brand in the US. That’s certainly no mean feat.

Counterpoint attributes the Oppo-owned brand’s success to its ability to attract LG customers and capitalize on Samsung’s supply chain issues, which were recently called out by T-Mobile’s CFO.


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