In brief: Smartphone vendors have been in a constant state of flux as it relates to shipments over the past several quarters. But when it comes to revenue and profit, Apple has firmly established itself as the market leader.

Counterpoint Research in its latest market report has charted manufacturers' progress in shipments, revenue and profit since the first quarter of 2019. Since that time, major players have jockeyed for position in terms of shipment share. In all but one quarter, Samsung finished on top, but the battle for second place and beyond was very fluid.

Looking at revenue share and operating profit, however, we see that Apple has been able to maintain a safe distance from its competitors at the top of the list.

In Q2 2021, Apple managed to capture 75 percent of the overall handset market operating profit and 40 percent of revenue despite accounting for just 13 percent of global handset shipments. As Counterpoint highlights, that's still lower than its peak in Q4 2020 when Apple grabbed 86 percent of the profit and half of all revenue.

In terms of profit, Samsung has consistently held the number two spot behind Apple. Such has also been the case in terms of revenue, save for two quarters when Huawei trumped Samsung for second place.

Speaking of Huawei, the company's fall following US sanctions is clearly illustrated in all three categories. This helped open the doors for other Chinese smartphone makers to make a move including Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.

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