In brief: For Xiaomi, it's a case of first Europe, now the world. Having recently been crowned the top smartphone vendor on the continent, the Chinese giant has just knocked Samsung off the number one spot in the global sales rankings.
According to Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi has become the number one brand in global monthly smartphone sales (sell-through) volumes. It took a 17.1% share of the market in June, outselling both Samsung (15.7%) and Apple (14.3%).
2021 has been Xiaomi's year. The company recently became the largest smartphone vendor in Europe and, in the second quarter, replaced Apple as the world's number two. Now, it sits at the top of the pile above Samsung.
As noted by Ars Technica, Xiaomi's rise has been aided by a huge presence in its home market of China, the world's largest smartphone market, and India—the second biggest. It also has 58 phones listed on its website, ranging from budget models to flagships.
"Ever since the decline of Huawei commenced, Xiaomi has been making consistent and aggressive efforts to fill the gap created by this decline," said Counterpoint Research Director Tarun Pathak. "The OEM has been expanding in Huawei's and HONOR's legacy markets like China, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. In June, Xiaomi was further helped by China, Europe, and India's recovery and Samsung's decline due to supply constraints."
Counterpoint believes Xiaomi's position at the top may be short-lived. A wave of Covid infections in Vietnam in June disrupted Samsung's production, resulting in shortages. The Korean firm could move back into the number one position once it recovers.
According to Korean publication The Elec, Samsung is "extending its management review" of the mobile business, something it does "when the top leadership considers there is a problem with a particular business unit." It says the move has been prompted by missing target sales for the Galaxy S21 and lacklustre performance in 5G smartphones.
Yesterday saw Xiaomi reveal another of its non-mobile products: a rather sinister-looking quadrupedal robot called CyberDog.