Apple soars as smartphone market returns to growth

Apple has taken the top spot, as the global smartphone market returned to yearly growth of 4.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, to 385.9m shipments, according to International Data Corporation.

The top spot for shipments from Apple is reportedly due to the popularity of its iPhone 12 series.

The recovery in Q4 was attributed to pent-up demand and excess savings among consumers after the Coronavirus Disease restrictions last year. Vendors also appeared better prepared to meet customer needs during the second lockdown, IDC said.

Apart from the growth figures, the main surprise of the quarter was Apple vaulting into first position. The release of its first 5G phones helped the company grow shipments over 22 per cent to 90.1m, and its market share rose to 23.4 per cent from 19.9 per cent a year ago.

Samsung also showed annual growth, but at 6.2 per cent, giving it a market share of 19.1 per cent, up slightly from last year.

Xiaomi confirmed its position as number three in the market, after strong growth of 32 per cent in shipments to 43.3m. Its market share increased to 11.2 per cent from 8.9 per cent in Q4 2019.

Oppo came fourth with an 8.8 per cent share after an estimated 10.7 per cent increase in shipments, and Huawei dropped to fifth place with 8.4 per cent share and 42.4 per cent drop in shipments.

In 2020, the smartphone market contracted 5.9 per cent to 1.292bn devices. The main winners were Apple, up eight per cent to 206.1m phones shipped and 15.9 per cent market share; and Xiaomi, up 17.6 per cent to 147.8m phones and 11.4 per cent market share.

Samsung remained on top with a 20.6 per cent share, after an estimated 10 per cent fall in shipments, and Huawei took third with 14.6 per cent share and a 21.5 per cent fall in shipments.

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