iPhone shipments remain stable while rivals sink in submerged economy

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iPhone light tunnel image
iPhone shipments remain steady. That's all anyone can hope for right now!
Photo: Youssef Sarhan/Unsplash CC

You know that badass cliché where one person staggers out of a room, slightly worse for wear, only to utter the words, “You should see the other guy”?

That’s pretty much the role Apple plays when it comes to second-quarter smartphone shipments, as reported by research firm Gartner. While Apple’s 0.4% dip year-over-year means iPhone sales remain flat, that’s certainly a whole lot better than the overall 20.4% decline across the industry.

In total, Gartner thinks Apple shipped 38.4 million iPhones in the quarter. While Apple’s numbers are steady, however, the company slightly increased its market share from 10.4% in 2019 to 13% this year.

Gartner: How iPhone rivals performed

The biggest dip of all was suffered by Samsung, whose smartphone sales reportedly fell 27.1% year over year. Xiaomi, the Chinese, sometimes-Apple-aping smartphone-maker, wasn’t able to follow Apple’s example this quarter — with its shipments falling 21.5%. Oppo, meanwhile, declined 15.9%, while Huawei dropped 6.8%.

“Travel restrictions, retail closures and more prudent spending on nonessential products during the pandemic led to the second consecutive quarterly decline in smartphone sales this year,” said Gartner senior research director Anshul Gupta.

Gartner credits Apple’s success to an “improved business environment” in China. Another thing going in Apple’s favor was the Q2 launch of the shockingly good value $399 iPhone SE.

Ultimately, measuring shipments or market share isn’t the only way of gauging success in the marketplace. It would be like a fast food chain saying that it’s the best because it serves more customers per day or because its outlets have more floor space than another restaurant. The real goal of any business should be profit and, when it comes to that, the iPhone continually comes out on top.

Still, the fact that iPhone sales remain brisk during a global recession serves as an impressive reminder of a very stable core business. That partially explains why the recession-busting Apple just passed $2 trillion in market cap!