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Like Huawei, Xiaomi may fail to become a real threat to Samsung

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Last updated: December 17th, 2021 at 15:41 UTC+01:00

Xiaomi has seemingly become an increasing threat to Samsung's market dominance, as well as Apple, but will the Chinese OEM eat away at Samsung's share until there's not enough left for the role of a market leader? You can never be too sure. After all, Huawei became a rising threat in a relatively short time before the trade ban pushed the brand into oblivion, but can Xiaomi succeed where Huawei failed and dethrone Samsung?

That's what market analyst Counterpoint Research is attempting to find out. The rundown on Xiaomi is that its growth wasn't, or rather it was, somewhat accidental. Xiaomi benefited massively from Samsung's production issues in Vietnam. This, combined with Huawei's exit from western markets, has allowed the Chinese OEM to get past Apple in Q2 and finish second behind Samsung. But this victory might not be long-lasting.

Samsung won't be facing production issues forever, and the situation appears to have improved somewhat in Q3 as the tech giant shuffled production around. Coincidentally, that's when Apple retook second place from Xiaomi.

Rivals come and go but, Samsung stays in the lead

The chart below shows the top 3 smartphone OEMs each quarter since 2012. It's vastly dominated by Samsung (denoted by the blue bubble with the letter “S”), and it seems to show a pattern forming over the years.

Samsung led the market most of the time since 2012. Apple won a bunch of silver medals, but interestingly enough, the third spot was the most contended. At one point it was covered by ZTE, then Huawei and LG fought over the bronze medal for a while until the former OEM won. Huawei stole Apple's spot for a few quarters, and now Xiaomi appears to be taking Huawei's place. At least, for a while.

Throughout all this, Samsung remained the leader of the global smartphone market, and analysts suspect that the Korean tech giant will keep its crown for the foreseeable future. Like in the past, some OEMs will overtake Samsung occasionally in some quarters, but it won't be enough to threaten its global smartphone market dominance.

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