Tuesday, 23 February 2021 06:16

Apple beats Samsung in smartphone sales for first time since 2016

Apple beats Samsung in smartphone sales for first time since 2016 Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

Apple has overtaken Samsung in global smartphone sales to end users during a quarter for the first time since 2016, the technology research firm Gartner says, adding that total global smartphone sales fell 5.4% for the fourth quarter of 2020 and 12.5% for the whole year.

Apple moved ahead of the South Korean giant in the fourth quarter of 2020, and ended up second overall, nudging out Huawei.

Gartner said the 5G iPhone 12 series helped Apple to record double-digit growth in the final quarter. The last time Apple was the top global smartphone vendor was in the fourth quarter of 2016.

gartner phones 4q2020

“The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimised the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner.

“Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter.”

While Samsung saw sales fall by 14.6% year-on-year, it still managed to keep the top spot globally for the full calendar year.

gartner phones 2020

Unsurprisingly, Huawei experienced the biggest sales drop and it fell to third spot. American sanctions have taken a heavy toll on the company.

Samsung fought off competition from Chinese brands like Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo even though Xiaomi was the only other manufacturer, apart from Apple, to experience growth in 2020.

“In 2021, the availability of lower end 5G smartphones and innovative features will be deciding factors for end users to upgrade their existing smartphones,” said Gupta.

“The rising demand for affordable 5G smartphones outside China will boost smartphone sales in 2021.”

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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