Xiaomi Mi 9 Pro 5G logo closeup

  • A new global marketshare report suggests that Xiaomi had its best-ever quarter.
  • The company is within spitting distance of Apple and looks poised to pass it.

Xiaomi has been on a roll lately as the global smartphone market continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Tracking firm Strategy Analytics previously reported that the manufacturer claimed third position for global marketshare in Q1 2021, just two percentage points behind Apple. But a new report suggests Xiaomi’s performance is even better than expected.

Canalys has released its Q1 2021 global smartphone marketshare report and it says Xiaomi has achieved its best-ever quarter, growing 62% year-on-year. The Chinese manufacturer was listed in third position with 49 million smartphones shipped, equating to 14% marketshare. 

Second-placed Apple reportedly shipped 52.4 million phones in the quarter, accounting for a 15% share of the global market. This suggests the gap between Xiaomi and Apple is extremely tight right now, and we’ll be waiting for Q2 2021 results to see whether the Chinese manufacturer indeed passes the Cupertino company. And with devices like the Redmi Note 10 series, we’d be surprised if Xiaomi doesn’t take the number two spot.

Canalys Q1 2021

Credit: Canalys

“Its competitors offer superior channel margin, but Xiaomi’s sheer volume actually gives distributors a better opportunity to make money than rival brands,” Canalys analyst Ben Stanton was quoted as saying. “But the race is not over. Oppo and Vivo are hot on its heels, and are positioning in the mid-range in many regions to box Xiaomi in at the low end.”

Stanton also pointed to Xiaomi becoming more “channel-friendly” and its high-end products like the Mi Mix Fold and Mi 11 Ultra.

Otherwise, Samsung occupied the clear top spot with 22% marketshare and 76.5 million units shipped during the quarter (28% year-on-year growth). Oppo and Vivo rounded out the top five manufacturers for the quarter, with 11% and 10% marketshare each (60% and 48% growth respectively).

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Canalys also highlighted LG’s exit from the smartphone business. Analyst Sanyam Chaurasia said this represents an opportunity in LG’s stronghold of the Americas for companies like Motorola, ZTE, TCL, and Nokia. 

“It is symbolic of a new era in the smartphone market. It proves that aggressive pricing and channel strategy are more important than hardware differentiation in the modern day,” the analyst explained.

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