Apple Continues to Retain Over 50% Share of Premium Smartphone Market in Q2 2021

The global premium smartphone market (models priced $400* and above) recorded a 46% YoY sales growth in Q2 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Pulse Service. The growth in the premium segment outpaced the overall market growth of 26% YoY. Besides, the premium segment share in the global smartphone sales increased to 24% in Q2 2021, compared to 21% in Q2 2020. Apple continued to lead the segment, cornering over half of the sales during the quarter, followed by Samsung and Huawei. Since the launch of iPhone 12 series in Q4 2020, Apple has continued to account for over 50% share in the premium smartphone market.

Global Premium Smartphone (>$400) Sales Market Share, Q2 2020 vs Q2 2021

Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly Market Pulse

A large part of the premium market growth in Q2 2021 was driven by Apple, which reported a sales growth of 74% YoY in the premium segment on the strong momentum of the iPhone 12 series due to the iPhone users continuing to upgrade to 5G. Apple’s supply chain was also very resilient in managing component shortages and gained from the decline of Huawei in regions like China and Europe. Apple was the largest OEM in the premium segment across all regions.

Global Smartphone Premium Market Rankings, Q2 2021

Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly Market Pulse

Although Samsung’s sales in the premium segment grew 13% YoY, the brand lost its share in the segment due to production disruption at its Vietnam unit following a fresh COVID-19 outbreak. However, with the launch of the new Z fold 3 and Z flip 3 models at a lower price point compared to their predecessors, Samsung is likely to gain share in H2 2021.

Xiaomi and OPPO both gained share in the segment driven by their premium portfolio-focused expansion in regions like Europe and China. Xiaomi was among the Top 3 players in Europe in the premium segment driven by its Mi 11 series. The OEM has been making efforts to gain from Huawei’s decline, which is now paying off. OPPO also gained share driven by its Reno and Find series in China and Western Europe.

OnePlus entered the Top 3 list for the premium segment in North America driven by its OnePlus 9 Series. The OEM gained both from LG’s exit and Samsung’s supply constraints.

Within the premium segment, while all the price bands saw growth, the highest growth (182% YoY) was seen in the ultra-premium band (>$800). This was mainly due to the strong momentum of the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro. The Pro versions were launched later than the usual September date, causing demand to spill over to the subsequent months. Apple captured close to 75% of the ultra-premium segment, compared to 54% a year ago. This shift also indicates that more consumers now prefer high-end devices after realizing the importance of smartphones to them during the COVID-19 lockdowns. A section of consumers also had extra savings while working from home, which they invested in devices like smartphones.

Sales Market Share by Price Band, Q2 2020 vs Q2 2021

Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly Market Pulse

5G is also becoming a standard offering within the premium segment. The overall penetration of 5G within the premium segment reached 84% in Q2 2021, compared to 35% in Q2 2020. In the $600 and above price band, 95% of devices were 5G capable. The launch of the iPhone 12 series in Q4 2020 gave a boost to the sales of 5G capable devices in the segment.

4G, 5G Penetration in Premium Segment Smartphone Sales

Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly Market Pulse

Going forward, the premium segment is likely to continue its growth momentum. The sales of the iPhone 12 have been very stable in markets like the US even before the launch of the new iPhone series this month. Further, the launch of the Fold series from Samsung and the refresh of iPhones by Apple will also drive growth. With the replacement cycle for iPhone being closer to three years, there is also a significant potential of 5G upgrades in 2021 and beyond.

Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo and OnePlus will also continue to try to gain share in the premium segment. HONOR has also entered the segment in China with its Magic series. There is also the untapped segment of Huawei’s flagship users in China, which is a big opportunity. As the replacement cycle of these users approaches, other OEMs will gain share from Huawei.

*The analysis is based on wholesale ASP

You can also visit our Data Section (updated quarterly) to view the smartphone market share for World, USAChina and India.

Some of our other smartphone market analyses for Q2 2021

China Captured 46% of Global 5G Sales in CY 2019

New Delhi, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Seoul, San Diego, London, Buenos Aires – February 20th, 2020

The China smartphone market sell-through declined 8% YoY in CY 2019, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse Service. The decline was steeper than the Global Smartphone Market sell-through, which reduced 3% YoY in CY 2019. While all the major OEMs declined – OPPO (down by 12% YoY), Vivo (6% YoY), Xiaomi (22% YoY), Apple (26% YoY), Huawei (including Honor) grew 28% for the full year, capturing over one-third of the largest smartphone market in the world. Huawei has been aggressive in China after the US trade ban, which has led to this growth.

Exhibit: Market Share by OEMs CY 2018 vs CY 2019

Counterpoint China Smartphone Sell-Through Market Share CY 2018 vs. CY 2019

China remained the largest contributor to the global 5G market, capturing 46% of the total 5G devices sell-through in 2019. This was again driven by Huawei. While Samsung led global 5G sales with over 40% market share, Huawei (including Honor) alone captured 74% of 5G sales in China. However, the high dependence of Huawei on the Chinese market makes it most vulnerable to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the smartphone market.

Commenting on COVID-19 and its effect on the China smartphone market, Varun Mishra, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research noted, “China handles at least 50% of global smartphone production and the coronavirus outbreak is bound to adversely affect China as well as the global smartphone market. There will be disruption from the supply-side with production facilities of smartphones and components either shut down or running below full capacity due to labor shortages. The overall demand will also dramatically fall due to disruption in retail. Offline stores will be affected the most. We are estimating sales to drop over 20% in China in Q1 2020. The OEMs which will be affected the most are the ones having production facilities in the Wuhan area like Lenovo and Motorola, and the ones for whom China is the major market like Huawei. OEMs like realme, Honor, and Xiaomi, which are more reliant on online distribution are likely to be least affected compared to those that have a relatively high share of offline sales.”

Exhibit 2: 2019 Q4 China vs Overseas sell-through for Major OEMs: OMEs with higher dependence on China market to be affected more from COVID-19

Counterpoint 2019 Q4 China vs overseas sell-through for major OEMs

*vivo excludes iQOO in the chart above

While the overall market declined, there was considerable shifts within the price bands. The US$600 to US$800 price band increased 33% YoY to account for 6% of the total sales, compared to 4% in 2018. This was mostly driven by the popularity of Apple’s iPhone 11 and Huawei. Huawei led the $200 to $600 price band and was in the top three players in every other price band.

Commenting on the market outlook, Flora Tang, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research noted, “Going forward, the decline in the Chinese market and the disruption in the supply chain will also lead to a decline in the global smartphone market by 5%. Our base case assumption is that COVID-19 will be largely contained in March. Nevertheless, we are expecting negative growth in China for both Q1 and Q2 2020.  In Q3 2020, the demand is likely to pick-up but there will likely be a supply mismatch. There will be demand for newer models while the available inventory will be of models that are not able to be sold now.  We had expected 5G would catalyze global smartphone market growth in 2020, but now it is likely to remain flat.”

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Analyst Contacts:

Tarun Pathak


Shobhit Srivastava


Varun Mishra


Abhilash Kumar


Follow Counterpoint Research

Global Smartphone Market – Apple Gained the Top Spot in Q4 2019 While Huawei Surpassed Apple to Become the Second-Largest Brand in CY 2019

Global smartphone market returns to quarterly growth (3% YoY) in Q4 2019, but declined (1% YoY) in 2019 overall
Apple iPhone shipments grew in 11% YoY during Q4 2019, even without a 5G variant
realme was the fastest-growing brand in CY 2019 (453% YoY)

New Delhi, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Seoul, San Diego, London, Buenos Aires – Jan 30th, 2020

The global smartphone market declined 1% YoY in CY 2019, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service. This is the first time that the smartphone market has declined for two consecutive years. However, the decline was slower than in 2018 (4% YoY). The smartphone market actually grew 3% YoY in Q4 2019, indicating signs of a recovery and is expected in 2020.

2019 brought both innovations, 5G, folding displays, but also an uncertain trade and political climate. Commenting on the global market dynamics, Varun Mishra, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research noted, “There have been growing tensions among several countries that have impacted the smartphone market. For example, the US pressure on Huawei, and tensions between Japan-Korea that led to uncertainties in the memory market. Supply chains have been upset, causing various companies to rethink their strategies and reduce dependence on single markets. 2020 will likely see efforts to further diversify investments across geographies to mitigate risks. The current coronavirus outbreak in China is the latest issue to threaten supply chains.”

Despite the sanctions, Huawei surpassed Apple to become the second-largest brand in 2019. This was the result of an aggressive push from Huawei in the Chinese market, where it achieved almost 40% market share. China accounted for over 60% of Huawei’s total shipments. Outside China, Huawei is trying to continue selling its older devices. But with rising competition, its value proposition is being gradually undermined. And while Huawei is working on its own operating system, it will almost impossible for it to compete with Android anywhere outside China.

Within the quarter however, after two-year, Apple gained the top spot in the Global Smartphone Market. This was driven by the iPhone 11 series beating expectations. iPhone revenues were up year-on-year for the first time since September 2018.

Exhibit: Smartphone Shipment Market Share CY 2018 and CY 2019

Counterpoint Smartphone Shipment Market Share CY 2018 and CY 2019

Source: Counterpoint Research: Quarterly Market Monitor 2019 Q4

We also saw smartphone brands changing their strategies in 2019 to gain market share. For example, Samsung revamped its A series, giving a push to the mid-segment. Apple launched its iPhone 11, with multiple cameras, at a lower price than its predecessor. At the same time, Apple increased its focus on services. Chinese OEMs expanded into new markets in 2019, especially Europe. 5G provided an opportunity for OEMs to gain mindshare by launching industry-first “5G-capable” devices in markets that were early to launch 5G services.

Smartphone makers also brought several innovations in 2019 paving the way for what will be mainstream in future. Foldable displays, punch hole displays, higher megapixel cameras, higher refresh rate displays, in-display sensors, optical zoom, and super-fast charging to name a few. Some features were quickly adopted across the price range, giving consumers a variety of capable smartphones to choose from at affordable prices.

Commenting on the adoption of 5G and the market outlook Research Analyst, Abhilash Kumar added, “2019 also saw the deployment and initial adoption of 5G, especially in the US, Europe, China, and Korea. With chipset players, operators and OEMs all preparing aggressively for 2020 and working towards bringing the prices of 5G down, the foundation for the 2020 growth has already been laid. The transition from 4G to 5G in the developed markets and the continued transition from 3G to 4G, feature phones to smartphones and upgrades will lead the smartphone market to grow in the coming year”.

Exhibit: Smartphone Shipment Market Share Q4 2018 and Q4 2019

Counterpoint Smartphone Shipment Market Share Q4 2018 and Q4 2019

Source: Counterpoint Research: Quarterly Market Monitor 2019 Q4


Key Takeaways:

  • The increasing competition in the smartphone market is also leading to a gradual consolidation. The top five brands captured 66% of the market in 2019 compared to 65% in 2018 and 62% in 2017.
  • Samsung remained flat during 2019 Q4 while grew 2% YoY for CY 2019. Samsung has been one of the leading players in 5G in 2019, shipping over 6.5 Million 5G capable devices in 2019.
  • Apple iPhone shipments grew 11% YoY during the Q4 2019, even without a 5G variant. The iPhone 11 series received an excellent consumer response in all regions. The dual-camera, and lower pricing of iPhone 11 than the XR at the same point last year, helped propel sales.
  • Apple’s Service revenue grew 17% YoY in 4Q 2019, reaching a record high in many categories including music, cloud and Apple Care. Apple has set itself new targets for services as it has already surpassed many it set for 2020. It will focus on new areas and services to generate new revenue streams.
  • realme continued its growth streak and remained the fastest growing brand during the quarter (163% YoY) as well as the year (453% YoY). The brand entered the top five in the Indian market for the full year, which contributed to its strong growth.
  • Xiaomi grew fast in 4Q (28% YoY). It remained the top player in the Indian smartphone market for the full year in 2019.
  • 5G smartphones contributed to 1% of global smartphone shipments in 2019. 2020 is expected to be the breakout year, with 5G smartphones poised to grow to around 18% of total global smartphone shipment volumes in 2020.

For press comments and inquiries please reach out to press (at)


Analyst Contacts:

 Tarun Pathak


Shobhit Srivastava


 Varun Mishra


Abhilash Kumar


Follow Counterpoint Research

5G Captured 5% of the Global Premium Market in Q3 2019

According to Counterpoint Research Market Pulse service, the global premium market sell-through declined 7% YoY. The contribution of 5G within the price segment was 5% during the quarter.  Samsung led the 5G segment with 74% of the market share followed by LG (11%) and Vivo (5%).   This was driven by the early adoption of 5G in South Korea, followed by North America and China. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G was the top-selling model, capturing over one-third of the total sales of all 5G devices.

All major OEMs in the premium segment now have 5G-capable devices, except Apple. Still, Apple alone captured over half of the premium market in Q3 2019. Apple grew 1% YoY increasing its market share from 48% a year back to 52% during the quarter. This was driven by both the initial, strong demand for the iPhone 11, as well as the continued success of the iPhone XR. iPhone XR was the top-selling model globally in the premium segment.

Exhibit 1: Premium segment market share by OEMs, Q3 2019

Huawei remained in the top three OEMs in the premium segment driven by the popularity of the P30 series, especially in China. China contributed to over 80% of Huawei’s sell-through in the premium segment as compared to 73% in the year ago quarter. The trend is likely to continue. It will be difficult for the newly launched Mate 30 series to create any progress outside China because it lacks Google Mobile Services (GMS). GMS is an important enabler for Huawei to continue its success outside China.

OnePlus recaptured its position among the top five OEMs in the segment. It also led the India premium segment, which reached a record high shipment level during the quarter. With the launch of OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro, the OEM now covers a wide portfolio across different price bands in the premium segment targeting users at various price points to upgrade.

LG also captured a spot in the top five, driven by the V50 ThinQ 5G. LG grew 20% YoY in the premium segment. This is in contrast with LG’s overall smartphone shipments, which declined over 30% YoY during the quarter.

Overall, within the price bands, driven by the iPhone XR, the US$600-799 wholesale price band continues as the most volume-centric, capturing 43% of the entire premium segment. The US$800-999 wholesale price segment grew the fastest, as Samsung grew 145% YoY in the segment driven by Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 Series.

Exhibit 2: Premium segment share by wholesale price (US$) tiers and YoY Growth, Q3 2019


Going forward, the adoption of 5G will play a key role in the growth of the premium segment as well as the overall global smartphone market. Apple will be launching its 5G devices in 2020 driving upgrades among Apple users and potentially pulling in some previous Android users. Currently, all the 5G phones available fall within the premium segment, but this will also change in 2020. Major Chinese OEMs will launch 5G-capable devices in the sub-US$ 400 price band. China will drive the 5G segment followed by other key markets like the US and Korea. The uptake of 5G will also push the overall global smartphone market to grow in 2020.


Note: The analysis above is based on wholesale price (US$) and the premium segment is US$400 and above.

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