Iphone 12 LineupSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple has dropped to 4th place in global smartphone sales in Q3 2020.
  • The delayed release of the iPhone 12 lineup is thought to be the cause of the drop.

In a press release, research firm Gartner reports that Apple has dropped to fourth place in global smartphone sales in the third of quarter of 2020 with Xiaomi moving past the company to third place.

Samsung and Xiaomi were the only vendors in the top five to experience growth in the third quarter of 2020. Samsung benefited from its strong positioning amongst Android users and recorded sales of 80.8 million units. Xiaomi grew 34.9% in the third quarter of 2020, securing 12.1% market share and moving past Apple into the No. 3 position. Xiaomi gained from Huawei's loss including strong performance in China.

Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner, says that the drop was due to Apple's delayed release schedule of the iPhone 12 lineup.

Apple sold 40.5 million units in the third quarter of 2020, a decline of 0.6% as compared to 2019 ... The slight decrease was mainly due to Apple's delayed shipment start of its new 2020 iPhone generation, which in previous years would always start mid/end September. This year, the launch event and shipment start began 4 weeks later than usual."

Worldwide smartphone sales decreased by 5.7% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2020. Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, says that the slump in smartphone sales is due to consumers limiting discretionary spending during the pandemic.

"Consumers are limiting their discretionary spend even as some lockdown conditions have started to improve ... 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."

Gupta went on to say that signs of recovery can be seen especially in India, Indonesia, and Brazil, three of the top five smartphone markets.

"Early signs of recovery can be seen in a few markets, including parts of mature Asia/Pacific and Latin America. Near normal conditions in China improved smartphone production to fill in the supply gap in the third quarter which benefited sales to some extent ... For the first time this year, smartphone sales to end users in three of the top five markets i.e., India, Indonesia and Brazil increased, growing 9.3%, 8.5% and 3.3%, respectively."

Despite a late start to the iPhone 12 lineup, Apple posted a record quarter for its fourth quarter in 2020.