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Apple was top global smartphone vendor in Q4 2020, retakes second spot from HUAWEI

By Nadeem Sarwar January 28, 2021, 2:14 pm
iPhone 12

The smartphone industry’s quarterly and fiscal financial results are out, and so are market research reports of how smartphone makers fared in a pandemic-hit year that saw the supply chain crippled and demand slowing down. Apple emerged as a big winner, driven by the success of the iPhone 12 series that helped the company post an all-time high profit and shatter its own previous record.

iPhone 12 series helped Apple overtake HUAWEI and witness a record quarter

As per independent reports by IDC, Counterpoint Research and Canalys, Apple shipped over 81 million smartphones in Q4 2020, capturing anywhere between 21% to 23.4% of the market share in the quarter ending December 31, 2020. Samsung took the second spot with Q4 2020 smartphone shipments of around 62 million, while Xiaomi sat at the third spot. (NOTE: Shipment data compiled by IDC, Counterpoint Research, and Canalys varies to some extent, but the rankings remain the same.)

READ MORE: Samsung had a profitable year despite a drop in smartphone sales

On a yearly basis, Samsung topped the global smartphone charts with approximately 255 million units shipped and commanded a net market share of 19%, despite recording a year-over-year decline of 14%. Apple, on the other hand, shipped between 210` and 207 million iPhones in 2020. Apple’s growth – and other Chinese vendors too – appears to have materialized at the expense of HUAWEI (including Honor), which slipped from the second spot in the global rankings at the end of 2019 to the third spot, and even further to down to the sixth spot on the basis of Q4 2020 shipments. 

Apple saw record iPhone sales in China, a market where HUAWEI reigned supreme

In particular, iPhone sales in China grew by 57% and brought in a staggering $21.31 billion, with CEO Tim Cook claiming during Apple’s earnings call that two of the top three highest-selling phones in urban China were from Apple. “Apple delivered a phenomenal performance in 4Q20, returning to the number 1 position with 90.1 million devices shipped, driven by the success of the iPhone 12 series. This represents the highest shipment volume from a vendor in a single quarter and resulted in 23.4% market share and 22.2% year-over-year growth,” says IDC’s report. 


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