The smartphone market was very much hurt, around the world, by the coronavirus pandemic, at least in the first quarter of the year. The research firm Counterpoint Research reported in early May that, in the U.S., sales dropped 21 percent over the same period last year. Another research firm, Strategy Analytics, had reported at the end of April that global smartphone shipments fell 17 percent in the first quarter of 2020.
Now, Counterpoint Research is out with more numbers, this time dealing specifically with the "premium" smartphone market, which is defined as costing $400 (in U.S. dollars) or more. That category posted a 13 percent drop, globally, in the first quarter, while also comprising 57 percent of global revenue of smartphones overall.
In terms of market share, Apple led with 57 percent of the market, with Samsung second and Huawei third. A pair of Chinese manufacturers, Oppo and Xiaomi, saw their percentages increase.
In North America, Apple was ranked first, followed by Samsung, Google, OnePlus and LG. In fact, Apple took the top spot in every region of the globe with the exception of China, where Huawei was first and Apple second. In the non-China APAC region, Apple led, followed by Samsung, OnePlus and Sony.
In terms of individual models, Apple took the top four spots, with the iPhone 11 first with 30 percent, the iPhone 11 Pro Max second with 9 percent, followed by the iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone XR. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G, with 3 percent, was the highest-ranking non-Apple phone.
Omdia's Smartphone Tracker, which took into consideration all models and not just premium ones, also listed the iPhone 11 as the world's most popular smartphone in the first quarter, with estimated sales of 19.5 million. In that survey, all four of the latest iPhone models were in the top ten worldwide, which was not the case a year earlier.
The Counterpoint survey did not specifically rank 5G smartphones, but did state that "the launch of 5G devices by Apple will play a key role in the growth of the premium segment."Another Strategy Analytics report, earlier this spring, had Samsung tops in the 5G smartphone category in the early going, controlling about a third of the worldwide market.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.