Xiaomi is now selling more smartphones than Apple, and Samsung tops the list, according to new data. Here's how the major smartphone players rank.

Grace Dean
·3 min read
apple tim cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • Chinese tech company Xiaomi sold nearly 5 million more smartphones than Apple in the third quarter, according to a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) released Thursday.

  • Samsung returned to the top-seller spot, pushing off Huawei, which has struggled with US restrictions.

  • Global smartphone sales were 1.3% down year-on-year, but markets such as India and Brazil are surging, the IDC said.

  • Samsung sold nearly twice as many phone as Apple, whose figures were hit by the delayed launch of the iPhone 12.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Chinese tech company Xiaomi overtook Apple as the world's third-biggest seller of smartphones in the third quarter of the year, according to a new report.

Xiaomi sold 46.5 million devices – nearly 5 million more than Apple, whose figures were hit hard by the late launch of the iPhone 12, the International Data Corporation said.

Samsung returned to the top spot, pushing off Huawei, which has struggled to deal with US sanctions.

Worldwide smartphone sales in the third quarter were 1.3% down year-on-year, according to the IDC report  released Thursday. This is a much smaller drop than the 9% decline the IDC had forecast, as economies began recovering from the pandemic and phone sales surged in India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia.

Here's how Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple, and Vivo ranked, based on worldwide sales in the quarter to September, according to IDC data.

#1 Samsung – 80.4 million

samsung event cox 6
Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Samsung now accounts for nearly one in four smartphones sold worldwide, the IDC reported.

The South Korean company's sales grew almost in India, Samsung's largest market, because of strong demand for cheaper models and its M series.

Customers in the US, its second-largest market, favored its A series, alongside the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.

Samsung posted its highest-ever quarterly revenue of $59 billion Thursday, but warned that rising smartphone competition could hit its fourth-quarter sales.

#2 Huawei – 51.9 million

Huawei Mate XS
The Huawei Mate XS. Isobel Hamilton/Business Insider

Samsung's strong performance knocked Huawei down to second place.

The Chinese company's third-quarter sales dropped 22% compared to the same period last year, and it sold almost 30 million fewer phones than Samsung.

As well as continued declines in international sales, Huawei's sales in China were also down more than 15% as the US sanctions affected its performance in its domestic market, the IDC said.

#3 Xiaomi – 46.5 million

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YouTube/MKBHD

Xiaomi posted a 42% rise in third-quarter sales, bringing it up to third place, which the IDC credited to continued strong presence in China.

The company is increasingly selling phones to customers outside of China, too, the IDC added, with nearly half of its phones being sold overseas, including strong growth in India.

Xiaomi's lower-priced phones, such as the Redmi 9 Series, also sold well in India and China, the IDC noted. The company now has a 13.1% share of the smartphone market.

#4 Apple – 41.6 million

iPhone 12
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

iPhone sales, meanwhile, dropped 10.6% year-on-year, bringing Apple down to the world's fourth-biggest smartphone provider, with 11.8% of market share.

This is a hefty drop for the US company, which topped the IDC's list in the fourth quarter of 2019 when it accounted for almost one in five global smartphone sales.

The fall is mainly due to delayed launch of the iPhone 12, the IDC said, but it expects iPhone sales to rise in the next quarter now the new model is released.

Apple yesterday posted iPhone sales slightly short of analysts' expectations, which were pushed up by significant growth in wearables and services sales.

#5 Vivo – 31.5 million

Around one in 11 smartphones bought globally are Vivo models, the IDC reported.

While global sales for the Chinese company grew only 4.2% year-over-year, sales of its cheaper models were up nearly 30% in India.

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