Apple, Samsung Lead Smartphone Market Recovery

Apple and Samsung have led continued growth in the smartphone market over the fourth quarter of 2020, with the iPhone manufacturer reclaiming the top spot.

More than 385 million smartphones were shipped worldwide during the quarter, a 4.3 per cent growth year on year, according to data from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Apple led the charts with 90.1 million devices, buoyed by the success of the iPhone 12, followed by Samsung at 73.9 million. Chinese companies Xiaomi, Oppo, and Huawei rounded out the top five. Samsung still led the 2020 calendar year, with 266.7 million units shipped to Apple’s 206.1 million.

Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, says the recovery in the smartphone market and its supply chain has been impressive.

“The majority of the world is either in some form of lockdown or still waiting to return to normal day-to-day life, yet smartphone sales are rebounding as though nothing ever happened. This illustrates the importance of smartphones in everyone’s life and provides a strong foundation for market demand.

“As the world progresses towards a post-pandemic environment, IDC believes demand will grow and the market recovery will accelerate,” he said.

According to Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, the smartphone market’s recovery is being driven by factors such as pent-up demand, the push for 5G, aggressive promotions, and the popularity of value and mid-range phones.

“Vendors also seem to be better prepared for the second lockdown, ensuring they have the right channel set up ready to fulfill orders and reach the end consumer.

“Lockdowns also have people spending less on areas like leisure, travel, and dining out – and smartphones are benefitting from this. In addition to all these factors, the fast recovery and resilience of the smartphone supply chain also has to be given some credit,” she said.

The full year 2020 dropped 5.9 per cent compared to 2019; however, IDC has tipped continued strong momentum going into 2021.