Apple takes top spot in smartphone market

Apple’s iPhone 12

Record iPhone shipments pushed Apple to the top position in the global smartphone market as Samsung Electronics and Huawei Technologies lost significant ground, market research firms said on Thursday.

Canalys and Counterpoint estimate iPhone shipments jumped to roughly 82 million units in the last quarter, marking a new high for Apple and crowning it the leading smartphone vendor. Samsung slumped more than 10% to just over 62 million shipments in a period that was marked by the release of the first 5G-enabled iPhones. Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo filled out the top five while Huawei suffered a 41% drop after US sanctions deprived it of access to key suppliers and chip makers.

“Huawei dramatically receded in most markets as the result of the US sanctions,” said Canalys analyst Amber Liu. “Its decision to divest Honor, however, may prove vital, as Honor is not bound by the same restrictions and component supply is resuming.”

Huawei sold its budget-friendly sub-brand Honor at the end of the year, giving it a chance to regain supply of critical components. “Over the last year, our smartphone business has developed robustly, and tablet, PC and wearable have seen a significant growth. We remain confident about the future,” Huawei said in an e-mail.

The new iPhones boosted Apple’s quarterly revenue to more than US$100-billion for the first time, with Tim Cook telling analysts on Wednesday that customer response to the new models has been “enthusiastic even in light of the ongoing Covid-19”.

A widely predicted recovery from the coronavirus slump appears to be taking hold in the smartphone market. “Apple is championing 5G sales and it will be the catalyst for 5G adoption in many countries across the world,” said IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo. Executives at component maker Murata Manufacturing and chip maker MediaTek have said they expect to see half a billion 5G handsets shipped this year.  — (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP


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