Apple drops to fourth in global smartphone race during rough Q3

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple's share of the global smartphone market contracted in the third quarter of 2020 as part of a wider slowdown blamed on coronavirus worries, dropping the iPhone maker into fourth place.

iPhone 11 Pro


According to new estimates from research firm Gartner, Apple shipped 40.6 million iPhones during the quarter ending in September to capture an 11.1% marketshare. Year-over-year growth dipped 0.6%, pushing the company from third place to fourth.

First place Samsung was one of two firms to record growth in the third quarter with sales topping 80.8 million units, up 2.2% from the same time last year. The performance was good enough to take 22% of the market and nearly double Apple's iPhone shipments.

Despite a massive 21.3% year-over-year contraction, Huawei held onto the second spot with 51.8 million smartphone sales and a 14.1% marketshare.

Xiaomi was the quarter's biggest mover, jumping 34.9% to unseat Apple for the first time. The Chinese upstart sold 44.4 million handsets to take a 12.1% share of the market.

Oppo rounded out the top five with 29.9 million units sold and an 8.2% marketshare, down 2.3% from the year ago period.

Overall, global smartphone sales declined 5.7% year-over-year as consumer spending stalled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The situation is improving, however, as economies slowly churn back to life following government-mandated lockdowns.

"Consumers are limiting their discretionary spend even as some lockdown conditions have started to improve," said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. "Global smartphone sales experienced moderate growth from the second quarter of 2020 to the third quarter. This was due to pent-up demand from previous quarters."

It should be noted that market research firms like IDC have questionable track records when it comes to estimating Apple unit sales. Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, have in the past rebutted quarterly forecasts, implying they are largely inaccurate.

Apple was particularly hard hit during the third quarter. The tech giant typically debuts new iPhone models at the end of September, a refresh cycle that buoys sales figures moving into the lucrative holiday quarter. This year, however, development and production ramp of iPhone 12 series devices was delayed as the virus forced Chinese partner suppliers to slow or suspend operations.

The iPhone maker ultimately launched its current-generation handset lineup in mid-October.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Does Apple care about market share ?? They are still the winner in income share of smartphones 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    "It should be noted that market research firms like IDC have questionable track records when it comes to estimating Apple unit sales. Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, have in the past rebutted quarterly forecasts, implying they are largely inaccurate."

    It should be noted that disclaimers like this never appear when it is good news, such as Apple being #1 in sales, #1 in app revenue, #1 in profit percentage, #1 in wearables (Apple Watch and AirPod), increasing market share in Mac sales etc. No, when it is good news, then Gartner, IDC, Canalys, App Annie, Sensor Tower etc. are all right on the money. It is only when it is bad news that they have questionable track records. Reminds me of politics.

    Republicans win in 2000: blame voter suppression and Diebold (Republicans fine)
    Republicans win in 2004: blame voter suppression and Diebold (Republicans fine)
    Democrats win in 2008: blame massive voter fraud! (Democrats fine)
    Democrats win in 2012: blame massive voter fraud! (Democrats fine)
    Republicans win in 2016: blame voter suppression, Mueller and Russia! (Republicans fine)
    Democrats win in 2020: massive voter fraud! (Democrats insist Republicans accept results of cleanest elections in history)

    Yeah, precisely like that. Now when 4Q results come in showing iPhones #1 again (as they always are 4Q, but this year more so than usual due to the 5G upgrades and the iPhone Mini) plus Mac Mini and MacBook Air having record quarters (due to M1) ... are we going to see "market research firms have questionable track records" also? 

    Just let me mention this: "market research firm" predictions ... generally line up with quarterly earnings statements. Example: 3Q market research firm statements all pointed to Samsung selling a lot of phones and especially tablets. Samsung's quarterly earnings statements: record profits for their mobile division. By contrast, market research predictions had Google's Pixel phones underperforming. Google didn't even break out their Pixel phone results during their quarterly revenue call ... but Pixel 5 devices had massive markdowns even before Black Friday despite having been on the market for barely a month.
    elijahg
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Does Apple care about market share ?? They are still the winner in income share of smartphones 
    If Apple didn't care about market share, they would have never released the iPhone SE 2020 or even the iPhone 12 Mini (which had the effect of keeping the point of entry at $699). And they certainly wouldn't have released them in the same year. Moving to other product lines, the $699 Mac Mini wouldn't exist and the $320 iPad - for which Apple frequently encourages sales to knock it below $300 - wouldn't either. And speaking of which, the last numbers that I saw had Apple's income share of the smartphone market dropping to 60.5%. I remember when those same analysts had it at 105%, with everyone but Apple and Samsung losing money, and Samsung only making a tiny bit. Now Samsung's "tiny bit" is 32.6%, or more than half Apple's. 

    But yes, as Apple's profits from smartphone and tablet hardware sales have been in decline since 2014, they have pivoted to services. As Microsoft and Google have long made apparent, services require market share.  
    elijahg
  • Reply 4 of 11
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    cloudguy said:
    "It should be noted that market research firms like IDC have questionable track records when it comes to estimating Apple unit sales. Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, have in the past rebutted quarterly forecasts, implying they are largely inaccurate."

    It should be noted that disclaimers like this never appear when it is good news, such as Apple being #1 in sales, #1 in app revenue, #1 in profit percentage, #1 in wearables (Apple Watch and AirPod), increasing market share in Mac sales etc. No, when it is good news, then Gartner, IDC, Canalys, App Annie, Sensor Tower etc. are all right on the money. It is only when it is bad news that they have questionable track records. Reminds me of politics.
    Nope. Most folk round here rubbish these estimates whether they’re good or bad because they’re always inaccurate. 

     If you take an outlandishly optimistic estimate then all that means Is the share price tanks when Apple announces “disappointing” figures. 

     Your best bet is to follow Neil Cybart and Horace Dediu. They’re the best for the numbers, good or bad.
    edited November 2020 Wgkruegerwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 11
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,371member
    Rayz2016 said:
    cloudguy said:
    "It should be noted that market research firms like IDC have questionable track records when it comes to estimating Apple unit sales. Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, have in the past rebutted quarterly forecasts, implying they are largely inaccurate."

    It should be noted that disclaimers like this never appear when it is good news, such as Apple being #1 in sales, #1 in app revenue, #1 in profit percentage, #1 in wearables (Apple Watch and AirPod), increasing market share in Mac sales etc. No, when it is good news, then Gartner, IDC, Canalys, App Annie, Sensor Tower etc. are all right on the money. It is only when it is bad news that they have questionable track records. Reminds me of politics.
    Nope. Most folk round here rubbish these estimates whether they’re good or bad because they’re always inaccurate. 

     If you take an outlandishly optimistic estimate then all that means Is the share price tanks when Apple announces “disappointing” figures. 

     Your best bet is to follow Neil Cybart and Horace Dediu. They’re the best for the numbers, good or bad.
    That's excellent advice, plus I'd add Philip Elmer-DeWitt @ https://www.ped30.com for curating a lot of Apple Financial information.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 11
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,371member

    cloudguy said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Does Apple care about market share ?? They are still the winner in income share of smartphones 
    If Apple didn't care about market share, they would have never released the iPhone SE 2020 or even the iPhone 12 Mini (which had the effect of keeping the point of entry at $699). And they certainly wouldn't have released them in the same year. Moving to other product lines, the $699 Mac Mini wouldn't exist and the $320 iPad - for which Apple frequently encourages sales to knock it below $300 - wouldn't either. And speaking of which, the last numbers that I saw had Apple's income share of the smartphone market dropping to 60.5%. I remember when those same analysts had it at 105%, with everyone but Apple and Samsung losing money, and Samsung only making a tiny bit. Now Samsung's "tiny bit" is 32.6%, or more than half Apple's. 

    But yes, as Apple's profits from smartphone and tablet hardware sales have been in decline since 2014, they have pivoted to services. As Microsoft and Google have long made apparent, services require market share.  
    Apple is still seeing an increase in user base for iPhone, which is already over 1 Billion users,  and that low of 60.5% profitability corresponds to the 3rd quarter, not to the first quarter.

    https://www.counterpointresearch.com/apple-continues-lead-global-handset-industry-profit-share/


    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 11
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,773member
    Rayz2016 said:
    cloudguy said:
    "It should be noted that market research firms like IDC have questionable track records when it comes to estimating Apple unit sales. Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, have in the past rebutted quarterly forecasts, implying they are largely inaccurate."

    It should be noted that disclaimers like this never appear when it is good news, such as Apple being #1 in sales, #1 in app revenue, #1 in profit percentage, #1 in wearables (Apple Watch and AirPod), increasing market share in Mac sales etc. No, when it is good news, then Gartner, IDC, Canalys, App Annie, Sensor Tower etc. are all right on the money. It is only when it is bad news that they have questionable track records. Reminds me of politics.
    Nope. Most folk round here rubbish these estimates whether they’re good or bad because they’re always inaccurate. 
    No they don't. That's complete bollocks. The analysts are lauded when the estimates are good and the obsessives are all "HA LOOK ALL THE HATERS ARE PROVEN WRONG AGAIN LOLOLOL".
  • Reply 8 of 11
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,773member

    tmay said:

    cloudguy said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Does Apple care about market share ?? They are still the winner in income share of smartphones 
    If Apple didn't care about market share, they would have never released the iPhone SE 2020 or even the iPhone 12 Mini (which had the effect of keeping the point of entry at $699). And they certainly wouldn't have released them in the same year. Moving to other product lines, the $699 Mac Mini wouldn't exist and the $320 iPad - for which Apple frequently encourages sales to knock it below $300 - wouldn't either. And speaking of which, the last numbers that I saw had Apple's income share of the smartphone market dropping to 60.5%. I remember when those same analysts had it at 105%, with everyone but Apple and Samsung losing money, and Samsung only making a tiny bit. Now Samsung's "tiny bit" is 32.6%, or more than half Apple's. 

    But yes, as Apple's profits from smartphone and tablet hardware sales have been in decline since 2014, they have pivoted to services. As Microsoft and Google have long made apparent, services require market share.  
    Apple is still seeing an increase in user base for iPhone, which is already over 1 Billion users,  and that low of 60.5% profitability corresponds to the 3rd quarter, not to the first quarter.

    https://www.counterpointresearch.com/apple-continues-lead-global-handset-industry-profit-share/


    All that proves is people are holding on to their iPhones longer, or passing them down. They could then go on to buy an Android phone, but the user base doesn't decline because that phone is still in use. Doesn't mean increasing sales, in fact much like coronavirus deaths follow infections a few weeks later, user base size will follow the same sales curve eventually, albeit in a few years. The people who handed down an iPhone and got an Android phone will hand down that Android phone and the iPhone will fall out of use. I definitely see less iPhones here in the UK than I used to. Every other person seemed to be on an iPhone, now that's not the case. For the majority of people, Apple stuff isn't worth the premium anymore. It's not miles ahead as it used to be. 

    Unfortunately with Cook at the helm who only really concerns himself with share price, Apple seems to be at a similar trajectory as they were in the early Mac era - albeit in a much much better financial situation. Remember when Jobs introduced the iPhone for $699, then shortly after dropped the price to $499? Can you ever imagine Cook doing that? Of course not. He's all about short-term profit, whereas Jobs was about making the best product. 
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 9 of 11
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,757member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Does Apple care about market share ?? They are still the winner in income share of smartphones 
    Absolutely! 

    Especially not seeing it decline if possible. 

    A lot of its services depend on having hardware out there.

    In the iPhone segment, the lineup up and business approach has changed radically. 

    If you went back just three years and told people what Apple's iPhone business would look like in 2020, they would have had you locked up for pure madness but here we are and I dare say some the naysayers from 2017 still haven't come to terms with what has changed today. 
    elijahgmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 11
    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    cloudguy said:
    "It should be noted that market research firms like IDC have questionable track records when it comes to estimating Apple unit sales. Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook, have in the past rebutted quarterly forecasts, implying they are largely inaccurate."

    It should be noted that disclaimers like this never appear when it is good news, such as Apple being #1 in sales, #1 in app revenue, #1 in profit percentage, #1 in wearables (Apple Watch and AirPod), increasing market share in Mac sales etc. No, when it is good news, then Gartner, IDC, Canalys, App Annie, Sensor Tower etc. are all right on the money. It is only when it is bad news that they have questionable track records. Reminds me of politics.
    Nope. Most folk round here rubbish these estimates whether they’re good or bad because they’re always inaccurate. 
    No they don't. That's complete bollocks. The analysts are lauded when the estimates are good and the obsessives are all "HA LOOK ALL THE HATERS ARE PROVEN WRONG AGAIN LOLOLOL".
    You can spot an “Apple obsessive” by the caps.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 11
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,371member
    avon b7 said:
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Does Apple care about market share ?? They are still the winner in income share of smartphones 
    Absolutely! 

    Especially not seeing it decline if possible. 

    A lot of its services depend on having hardware out there.

    In the iPhone segment, the lineup up and business approach has changed radically. 

    If you went back just three years and told people what Apple's iPhone business would look like in 2020, they would have had you locked up for pure madness but here we are and I dare say some the naysayers from 2017 still haven't come to terms with what has changed today. 
    Yeah, what's changed is that Apple has substantially grown its staff, leading to, more and better products. 

    Go figure.
    watto_cobrajony0
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