Visualized: A Snapshot of the Global Personal Tech Market
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Visualized: A Snapshot of the Global Personal Tech Market

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A Snapshot of the Global Personal Tech Market

For many, it’s become difficult to function in day-to-day life without the use of a mobile phone. The average American checks their phone 96 times a day—that’s once every 10 minutes.

But it’s not just mobile phones that have become increasingly intertwined with our everyday lives. A plethora of accessories and devices, known as smartphone multipliers, have surged in popularity—this market is set to generate $459 billion in revenue by the end of 2020.

Which brands are capitalizing on this lucrative market? Today’s graphic provides a snapshot of the leading tech brands currently dominating the personal tech space, based on the most recent global market share data on shipments and installs.

How the Brands Stack Up, by Personal Tech Device

Though far from exhaustive, we’ve selected a few popular devices to hone in on, providing key insights on some of the top players in the personal tech space as of 2020.

Smartphones

Smartphones are an essential part of the personal tech conversation—by 2025, there will be an estimated 5.8 billion smartphone users worldwide, or roughly 70% of the global population.

BrandGlobal Smartphone Shipments Market Share
Huawei20%
Samsung20%
Apple14%
Xiaomi10%
Oppo9%
Vivo8%
Lenovo3%
Other16%

Currently, Huawei and Samsung hold the largest share of the global market, at 20% each. Chinese company Huawei’s dominance is concentrated in its home country, where it captures almost half of smartphone sales. Like Huawei, Samsung’s market dominance is amplified in its home country South Korea, where it makes up 67% of the market.

While Apple lags slightly behind Huawei and Samsung in global sales, the company rules in the U.S., where it captures 46% of market share.

Why isn’t Apple as successful in other parts of the world? A big factor is price. For instance, 90% of smartphones in India cost around $300, while iPhones start at $999.

Smartphone Operating Systems

Of course, smartphones are useless without an operating system (OS). Each smartphone OS essentially acts as your phone’s nervous system, running all applications and programs, as well as managing network and WiFi connectivity.

BrandGlobal Market Share (by units)
Android74.3%
iOS25.2%
Samsung0.2%
KaiOS0.1%
Unknown0.1%

When it comes to the OS market, Google-owned Android dominates by a landslide, making up 74% of global market share. This makes sense, considering that both the leading smartphone companies, Huawei and Samsung, use Android OS on a number of their devices.

However, it’s important to note that newer Huawei phones won’t operate on Android. When the Chinese tech giant was blacklisted in the U.S., it was no longer able to license Android’s OS. As a result, Huawei launched its own HarmonyOS to fill the gap.

Smartphone Application Processors

If a smartphone’s OS acts like its nervous system, then the application processor (AP) functions like a brain. APs handle everything from image processing and graphics to powering your phone on and off.

BrandGlobal Market Share (by units)
Qualcomm29%
MediaTek26%
HiSilicon16%
Apple13%
Samsung13%
Unisoc4%

Qualcomm is currently the largest provider of application processors, capturing almost 30% of the global market share. While it currently holds the top spot, its market share has declined since 2019, largely due to a decrease in usage in Huawei products.

After being banned in the U.S., Huawei shifted suppliers for this crucial part. Instead of buying from Qualcomm—an American company—it now relies on HiSilicon, which is based in China.

Wireless Headphones

The wireless headphone market is growing fast—in 2019, it was valued at $2.5 billion. Between 2020 to 2027, it’s set to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3%.

BrandGlobal Sales Units Market Share
Apple35%
Xiaomi10%
Samsung6%
Jabra3%
JBL3%
Other43%

Apple currently dominates the wireless headphone space, making up over a third of global market share. The company is expected to sell 82 million units by the end of 2020.

Despite this, it’s important to note that Apple’s dominance has decreased significantly in 2020 compared to 2019, when it captured over 50% of the global market. Apple’s decline is likely due to the emergence of cheaper alternatives from companies like Lypertek Tevi or 1More, which offer comparable products at about half the cost of Apple’s AirPods.

Smartwatches

Health and wellness have been top priorities among consumers recently, which has had a positive impact on the global smartwatch market—in the first half of 2020, it’s shown a 20% growth in revenue, compared to a year prior.

BrandGlobal Smartwatch Shipments Market Share
Apple30%
Huawei14%
Samsung7%
imoo7%
Other42%

Like wireless headphones, Apple dominates the smartwatch market, in both volume and value. When looking at global shipments in Q2 2020, the company makes up 30% of the market share—however, in terms of revenue, Apple’s piece of the pie rises to 50%.

The Only Constant is Change

It’s clear that no matter who leads the list for each type of personal tech, these spots are never static—there’s always room for disruption.

How long will Apple hold its top spot in the wireless headphone market? Will Qualcomm’s dominance of the AP market continue to shrink?

Things are certain to change—the only question is, how?

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The 20 Internet Giants That Rule the Web

A lot has changed since Yahoo and AOL were the homepages of choice. This visualization looks at the largest internet giants in the U.S. since 1998.

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The 20 Internet Giants That Rule the Web (1998-Today)

With each passing year, an increasingly large segment of the population no longer remembers images loading a single pixel row at a time, the earsplitting sound of a 56k modem, or the early domination of web portals.

Many of the top websites in 1998 were news aggregators or search portals, which are easy concepts to understand. Today, brand touch-points are often spread out between devices (e.g. mobile apps vs. desktop) and a myriad of services and sub-brands (e.g. Facebook’s constellation of apps). As a result, the world’s biggest websites are complex, interconnected web properties.

The visualization above, which primarily uses data from ComScore’s U.S. Multi-Platform Properties ranking, looks at which of the internet giants have evolved to stay on top, and which have faded into internet lore.

America Moves Online

For millions of curious people the late ’90s, the iconic AOL compact disc was the key that opened the door to the World Wide Web. At its peak, an estimated 35 million people accessed the internet using AOL, and the company rode the Dotcom bubble to dizzying heights, reaching a valuation of $222 billion dollars in 1999.

AOL’s brand may not carry the caché it once did, but the brand never completely faded into obscurity. The company continually evolved, finally merging with Yahoo after Verizon acquired both of the legendary online brands. Verizon had high hopes for the company—called Oath—to evolve into a “third option” for advertisers and users who were fed up with Google and Facebook.

Sadly, those ambitions did not materialize as planned. In 2019, Oath was renamed Verizon Media, and was eventually sold once again in 2021.

A City of Gifs and Web Logs

As internet usage began to reach critical mass, web hosts such as AngelFire and GeoCities made it easy for people to create a new home on the Web.

GeoCities, in particular, made a huge impact on the early internet, hosting millions of websites and giving people a way to actually participate in creating online content. If it were a physical community of “home” pages, it would’ve been the third largest city in America, after Los Angeles.

This early online community was at risk of being erased permanently when GeoCities was finally shuttered by Yahoo in 2009, but luckily, the nonprofit Internet Archive took special efforts to create a thorough record of GeoCities-hosted pages.

From A to Z

In December of 1998, long before Amazon became the well-oiled retail machine we know today, the company was in the midst of a massive holiday season crunch.

In the real world, employees were pulling long hours and even sleeping in cars to keep the goods flowing, while online, Amazon.com had become one of the biggest sites on the internet as people began to get comfortable with the idea of purchasing goods online. Demand surged as the company began to expand their offering beyond books.

Amazon.com has grown to be the most successful merchant on the Internet.

– New York Times (1998)

Digital Magazine Rack

Meredith will be an unfamiliar brand to many people looking at today’s top 20 list. While Meredith may not be a household name, the company controlled many of the country’s most popular magazine brands (People, AllRecipes, Martha Stewart, Health, etc.) including their sizable digital footprints. The company also owned a slew of local television networks around the United States.

After its acquisition of Time Inc. in 2017, Meredith became the largest magazine publisher in the world. Since then, however, Meredith has divested many of its most valuable assets (Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune). In December 2021, Meredith merged with IAC’s Dotdash.

“Hey, Google”

When people have burning questions, they increasingly turn to the internet for answers, but the diversity of sources for those answers is shrinking.

Even as recently as 2013, we can see that About.com, Ask.com, and Answers.com were still among the biggest websites in America. Today though, Google appears to have cemented its status as a universal wellspring of answers.

As smart speakers and voice assistants continue penetrate the market and influence search behavior, Google is unlikely to face any near-term competition from any company not already in the top 20 list.

New Kids on the Block

Social media has long since outgrown its fad stage and is now a common digital thread connecting people across the world. While Facebook rapidly jumped into the top 20 by 2007, other social media infused brands took longer to grow into internet giants.

By 2018, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook’s umbrella of platforms were all in the top 20, and you can see a more detailed and up-to-date breakdown of the social media universe here.

A Tangled Web

Today’s internet giants have evolved far beyond their ancestors from two decades ago. Many of the companies in the top 20 run numerous platforms and content streams, and more often than not, they are not household names.

A few, such as Mediavine and CafeMedia, are services that manage ads. Others manage content distribution, such as music, or manage a constellation of smaller media properties, as is the case with Hearst.

Lastly, there are still the tech giants. Remarkably, three of the top five web properties were in the top 20 list in 1998. In the fast-paced digital ecosystem, that’s some remarkable staying power.

This article was inspired by an earlier work by Philip Bump, published in the Washington Post.

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Visualizing the Power of the World’s Supercomputers

Supercomputers are some of the most advanced machines humans have ever created. See how they stack up in this infographic.

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Visualizing the Power of the World’s Supercomputers

A supercomputer is a machine that is built to handle billions, if not trillions of calculations at once. Each supercomputer is actually made up of many individual computers (known as nodes) that work together in parallel.

A common metric for measuring the performance of these machines is flops, or floating point operations per second.

In this visualization, we’ve used November 2021 data from TOP500 to visualize the computing power of the world’s top five supercomputers. For added context, a number of modern consumer devices were included in the comparison.

Ranking by Teraflops

Because supercomputers can achieve over one quadrillion flops, and consumer devices are much less powerful, we’ve used teraflops as our comparison metric.

1 teraflop = 1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) flops.

RankNameTypeTeraflops
#1🇯🇵 Supercomputer FugakuSupercomputer537,212
#2🇺🇸 SummitSupercomputer200,795
#3🇺🇸 SierraSupercomputer125,712
#4🇨🇳 Sunway TaihulightSupercomputer125,436
#5🇺🇸 PerlmutterSupercomputer93,750
n/aNvidia Titan RTXConsumer device130
n/aNvidia GeForce RTX 3090Consumer device36
n/aXbox Series XConsumer device12
n/aTesla Model S (2021) Consumer device10

Supercomputer Fugaku was completed in March 2021, and is officially the world’s most powerful supercomputer. It’s used for various applications, including weather simulations and innovative drug discovery.

Sunway Taihulight is officially China’s top supercomputer and fourth most powerful in the world. That said, some experts believe that the country is already operating two much more powerful systems, based on data from anonymous sources.

As you can see, the most advanced consumer devices do not come close to supercomputing power. For example, it would take the combined power of 4,000 Nvidia Titan RTX graphics cards (the most powerful consumer card available) to measure up to the Fugaku.

Upcoming Supercomputers

One of China’s unrevealed supercomputers is supposedly named Oceanlite, and is a successor to Sunway Taihulight. It’s believed to have reached 1.3 exaflops, or 1.3 quintillion flops. The following table makes it easier to follow all of these big numbers.

NameNotationExponentPrefix
Quintillion1,000,000,000,000,000,00010^18Exa 
Quadrillion1,000,000,000,000,00010^15Peta
Trillion 1,000,000,000,00010^12Tera
Billion1,000,000,00010^9Giga
Million1,000,00010^6Mega

In the U.S., rival chipmakers AMD and Intel have both won contracts from the U.S. Department of Energy to build exascale supercomputers. On the AMD side, there’s Frontier and El Capitan, while on the Intel side, there’s Aurora.

Also involved in the EL Capitan project is Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), which claims the supercomputer will be able to reach 2 exaflops upon its completion in 2023. All of this power will be used to support several exciting endeavors:

  • Enable advanced simulation and modeling to support the U.S. nuclear stockpile and ensure its reliability and security.
  • Accelerate cancer drug discovery from six years to one year through a partnership with pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Understand the dynamic and mutations of RAS proteins that are linked to 30% of human cancers

Altogether, exascale computing represents the ability to conduct complex analysis in a matter of seconds, rather than hours. This could unlock an even faster pace of innovation.

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