Apple Surpassed Samsung to Become the World’s Largest Smartphone Maker in Q4 2020

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 22 Feb 2021

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Thanks to bumper iPhone sales in Q4 2020, Apple surpassed Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer of the world. The company had previously achieved a similar feat in 2016.

Apple is estimated to have sold 80 million iPhones in Q4 2020 as per the data collated by Gartner. That’s a jump of over 10 million units from Q4 2019 and this allowed the company to capture 20.8% of the global smartphone market share in the last quarter of 2020. Samsung, in comparison, saw its smartphone shipments decline from 70.4M a year go to 62.1 million — a decline of 8 million which saw its market share shrink by 11.8%.

Apart from Apple, Xiaomi also saw impressive market growth as it capitalized on Huawei’s chip ban to capture a larger chunk of the international smartphone market. The company grew the most in Q4 2020 with a 33.9% growth.

This iPhone upgrade super-cycle can be attributed to the launch of the iPhone 12 series with 5G connectivity. The delayed launch of the lineup also helped as Apple usually tends to launch new iPhones towards the end of Q3. The pandemic, however, forced the company to delay the launch of the new iPhones by a few weeks.

Apple’s impressive 5G iPhone super-cycle came at a time when the entire smartphone industry saw the total shipments decline by 12.5% due to the pandemic-led lockdown. Gartner analyst believes that iPhone sales could have been even higher during the quarter if Apple would have been able to keep up with the demand, but that could not happen due to the chip shortage that’s affecting the entire smartphone and automobile industry. The lockdown in various countries also hampered supply and led to smartphone component prices increasing by as much as 15%.

Our Take

It is not surprising that Apple was the world’s largest smartphone maker in Q4 2020. The company posted record Q4 revenues despite the pandemic thanks to strong iPhone sales as well. In fact, iPads, Macs, and AirPods — all key Apple products have been in heavy demand since the pandemic forced people to work from home.

[Via Financial Times]