Vivo Takes Lead In China Smartphone Market for the First Time

• OPPO and vivo fight for the top position in China after Huawei’s decline.
• The top spot in China may change hands frequently this year.

Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul – April 14, 2021

For the first time, vivo has risen to the top spot in China, according to Counterpoint’s China Smartphone Weekly Tracker. In week 11 (March 8-14) of 2021, vivo surpassed its nearest competitor OPPO due to a consumer friendly product line-up.

The battle for supremacy in China’s smartphone market is heating up, with the top spot changing hands in quick succession. Riding on the continued strong performance of its newly launched budget model Y3 and S9, vivo was able to jump ahead of OPPO during week 11 and again in week 13.

Exhibit 1: China Weekly Smartphone Market Share trends

Counterpoint Research China Weekly Smartphone Market Share Wk 8 - Wk 13 2021 - Vivo Leads
Source: Counterpoint’s China Smartphone Weekly Tracker

* Notes: Huawei excludes HONOR; OPPO excludes realme and OnePlus; vivo includes iQOO

vivo was one of the first brands in the market to launch 5G devices, with the Nex 3 5G and iQOO Pro 5G in August 2019 and September 2019, respectively. vivo has grown its 5G portfolio quickly to account for more than 76% of its sales in February 2021, from a mere 0.5% in August 2019.

vivo’s clear product positioning has paid off. Currently, vivo’s portfolio includes the NEX, X, S, Y series, and sub-brand iQOO. The NEX and X series are vivo’s flagship series focused on camera capabilities while the S and U series are focused on good value for money. Y is focused on budget customers while the iQOO is are focused on online channels. In addition, vivo has been putting more effort into enhancing its camera capabilities through a strategic partnership with German optical expert Carl Zeiss.

OPPO had been aggressive in January and February this year and became the No.1 smartphone brand in China with the successful rebranding of Reno series and the strong momentum of A series in the mid-segment.

Ever since Huawei started to struggle due to US restrictions on the company, other Chinese smartphone manufacturers have been eager to take advantage. Commenting on the market dynamics, Senior Analyst Yang Wang said, “vivo and OPPO are adopting aggressive market and product strategies, and we expect to see the two brands continue to jostle for the top spot in 2021.”

Counterpoint’s China Smartphone Weekly Tracker will be keeping close track of this new rivalry between the two Chinese manufacturers. The Tracker is available for subscribing clients. 

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Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contact:

Yang Wang

Counterpoint Research

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