‘OPPO brands’ overtake Apple in global smartphone shipments in May 2021: Counterpoint

Counterpoint says the OPPO family may likely be the next dominant brand to come from China after Huawei.

  • OPPO, OnePlus, and Realme brands have captured a 16 percent global market share in May 2021 to emerge as the second-largest smartphone brand
  • Apple, which was in the second spot earlier this year, has been pushed to third place in May with a 15 percent share
  • Xiaomi came in at fourth place with a 14 percent market share

Samsung, Huawei, and Apple were once the top three smartphone brands in the world. However, Huawei has lost the race after the US government had banned American companies from working with it pushing it into the darkness. This has led OPPO, Xiaomi, and OnePlus to quickly jump in and fill up the void caused by Huawei. Market research firm Counterpoint Research claims that OPPO — which includes not only OPPO but also OnePlus and Realme, according to Counterpoint — has captured a 16 percent market share in May 2021, thereby making it the second-largest smartphone brand after Samsung.

OnePlus was carved out of OPPO in 2013, with the latter remaining a majority stakeholder in the new brand. Realme was launched by OPPO as a rival to Redmi in 2018 before being spun off as an independent entity. 

Counterpoint smartphone shipments

Individually, OPPO has been the most popular with a 10 percent share globally, followed by Realme with a 5 percent share and OnePlus with 1 percent. Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Jene Park noted that OPPO could be the second-largest brand to come from China after Huawei, which also had a subsidiary in the form of Honor. Unlike Huawei that tried to strike a distribution deal with AT&T but couldn’t due to the political situation, OPPO already has access to the US smartphone market through Verizon and T-Mobile via its sub-brand OnePlus. This makes us believe that OPPO could become bigger than Huawei.

OPPO is owned by BBK Electronics, the brand that also owns Vivo and iQOO.
Counterpoint smartphone shipments

Apple, the Cupertino giant that was in the second spot earlier this year has been pushed to third in May. The company has accounted for 15 percent of global smartphone shipments, down from over 16 percent from the start of 2021. However, this is expected since Apple hasn’t launched any new model since November as its attention is being shifted to the iPhone 13 series that is scheduled to launch later this year. Xiaomi finished in fourth place with a 14 percent market share. Canalys recently reported that Xiaomi has pushed Apple to secure the second spot. We can expect the company will have another strong quarter thanks to new flagship launches.