IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Apple overtook Samsung to become top smartphone vendor in Q4

The last time Apple held this prestigious title was in the fourth quarter of 2016

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini

Apple’s decision to postpone the launch of the iPhone 12 helped it usurp Samsung as the top global smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter of 2020, Gartner analysis has found.

The last time Apple held the prestigious title was in the fourth quarter of 2016, following the September launch of the iPhone 7 range.

However, last year’s decision to move the annual iPhone launch date from September to October managed to help the tech giant to record double-digit year-on-year growth of 14.9% for Q4 2020, according to Gartner. 

Apple managed to sell close to 200 million smartphone units in total last year, surpassing Huawei which sold 182 million units. Samsung, which retained the number one spot, sold 253 million smartphones throughout the 12 month period.

Although Samsung still dominates with 18.8% of the smartphone market, this is a drop of 0.4% compared to 2019. This is despite the tech giant launching its most recent range of flagship smartphones two months earlier than usual in an effort to steal market share from Huawei. 

The Shenzhen-based company lost 2.1% of its smartphone market share between 2019 and 2020, while Apple’s market share grew by 2.2% for the same period, from 12.6% to 14.8%.

Apple’s success was recorded amid a difficult year for the smartphone industry, which saw a 12.5% decline in global sales for the full 2020, with a 5.4% downturn in the fourth quarter alone. 

Related Resource

Go further with mobile marketing

Easy steps to get your mobile strategy up-to-speed

Easy steps to get your mobile strategy up-to-speed - whitepaper from OracleDownload now

According to Gartner senior research director Anshul Gupta, this market decline was minimised by “the sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones”.

“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,” he said.

Gupta added that 2021 smartphone sales will be boosted by “the rising demand for affordable 5G smartphones outside China”.

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

Featured Resources

Activation playbook: Deliver data that powers impactful, game-changing campaigns

Bringing together data and technology to drive better business outcomes

Free Download

In unpredictable times, a data strategy is key

Data processes are crucial to guide decisions and drive business growth

Free Download

Achieving resiliency with Everything-as-a-Service (XAAS)

Transforming the enterprise IT landscape

Free Download

What is contextual analytics?

Creating more customer value in HR software applications

Free Download

Most Popular

16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

13 May 2022
Linux-based Cheerscrypt ransomware found targeting VMware ESXi servers
ransomware

Linux-based Cheerscrypt ransomware found targeting VMware ESXi servers

26 May 2022
Open source packages with millions of installs hacked to harvest AWS credentials
hacking

Open source packages with millions of installs hacked to harvest AWS credentials

24 May 2022