A few weeks back, a bit of misinformation made its way around the internet, alleging that Google’s Pixel 6 lineup was selling so poorly that wireless carriers were being internally rewarded to push these phones to customers. While not an abnormal practice in the wireless business, this did allude to the idea that Pixel 6 wasn’t selling too well. Not long after, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai took the time in the company’s quarterly earnings call to point out that the Pixel 6 is the best-selling Pixel ever. A low bar to cross, sure, but a far cry from struggling.
To further drive home the point, Google took some time on stage at Google I/O 2022 to further clarify that between the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, they’ve sold more than all Pixel 4 and Pixel 5 phones combined. Again, not a high bar to cross, but also nothing to sneeze at, either. These are clear signs of growth in a hyper-competitive space, and Google should be proud that they are moving the right direction.
New report from Canalys
As a third affirmation of this growth, we now have some numbers in from Canalys that show Google has pushed into a new ranking when comparing numbers year over year. While it’s no surprise that Apple dominates these figures here in the US with a wildly-large 51% market share (up 6% YoY), this report also shows Samsung up 1% YoY with a decrease to 27% market share in Q1 2022. Motorola/Lenovo saw 56% growth in the same timeframe and TCL dropped from 5% to 4% market share.
By far and away, the biggest growth was attributed to Google on the back of Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. While the numbers from last year’s Q1 were very small, the growth is substantial. In Q1 of 2021, Google shipped 200,000 phones. In Q1 of 2022, that number skyrocketed to 1.2 million. While not a huge number when compared to Apple’s 19.9 million units sold or Samsung’s impressive 10.5 million, it’s a HUGE step in the right direction for Google’s hardware team.
When you consider the likely popularity of the upcoming Pixel 6a, these numbers will only inflate. With the upcoming Pixel Watch, Pixel Buds Pro and Pixel 7 all launching in the next 5 months, I’d imagine Google will be eyeing the #3 spot before long. While it will take considerable time, marketing and success to compete with Samsung, I don’t think there’s any reason Google can’t push into the #3 spot relatively quickly and set a long-term goal of taking on Samsung in the years to come. They are building an ecosystem people enjoy and they have the money to market all of it well. If they continue shipping great hardware and continue improving on the software side of things, it feels like an inevitability at this point.