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Oppo, OnePlus, and Realme together overtake Apple to rank second in global smartphone market

Despite the shakeup where Oppo overtook Apple in the global market for smartphones, Samsung continues to be the leader.

Story highlights
  • Oppo and its family brands have cornered the second position in the global market.
  • According to Counterpoint, the market share of Oppo, OnePlus, Realme was 16 per cent in May 2021.
  • Apple slipped to the third place in the global smartphone market.

Oppo has emerged as the second-biggest smartphone brand in the world, overtaking Apple in terms of market share in the month of May. According to the latest report by Counterpoint Research for May 2021, Oppo, along with OnePlus and Realme, cornered an overall market share of 16 per cent, falling only a place behind Samsung, which is still the global leader in the smartphone market. Apple slipped to the third position with a 15 per cent market share, while Xiaomi, which recently outshone Apple to rank second in terms of shipments, came fourth with a 14 per cent share.

The 16 per cent share includes OnePlus and Realme, which were carved out of Oppo to focus on different market strategies. OnePlus, which recently merged its research and development with its parent company, Oppo, focuses on flagship portfolios with premium features. Realme, on the other hand, is more focused on online sales and mid-range phones. The market share of Oppo alone stands at 10 per cent, while that of OnePlus and Realme are 1 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively. However, Oppo, OnePlus, and Realme are a part of BBK Electronics, which also owns the Vivo and IQOO brands.

Oppo's growth in the global smartphone market has drawn comparisons with Huawei, which was once China's darling brand, winning accolades globally. Huawei's fate, however, changed after the US government -- then led by Donald Trump -- banned it from carrying out trade with American companies over concerns related to espionage. The Chinese brand got some respite sometime later but it was very effective and marginal, so much so that the company had to change its business strategies. The entire fiasco caused Huawei to slip from its rank, and Oppo has filled in for it.

"Oppo family may likely be the next dominant brand to come from China since Huawei," said Jene Park, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research.

While the report does not talk about why Apple slipped to the third position, the plummet may have to do with the lacklustre sales of select iPhone 12 models. The entire iPhone 12 series performed exceptionally well in comparison with the iPhone 11 series, but the iPhone 12 mini model accounted for the lowest sales.

Oppo has an aggressive range of smartphones across price categories. In India, Oppo's prime business is offline driven while its online portfolio is set to expand gradually through the A-series.