Global smartphone shipments reported 27% growth on an annual basis in the first quarter of 2021 (Q1 2021), according to a report by market research company Canalys. Samsung retained the lion’s share of the global smartphone market, Apple took second place, and Chinese technology companies Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo finished in the top five. Canalys said some brands have depreciated device shipments to India, which is struggling with a huge jump in COVID-19 cases, and have instead turned their attention to recovering regions like Europe.
The report from Canalys said global smartphone shipments reached 347 million units in the first quarter of 2021. Samsung was the largest supplier of smartphones with 76.5 million shipments. Its 22% market share remains unchanged from last year. Apple sent 52.4 million iPhones and registered a growth of 1% on an annual basis with a 15% share. Canalys attributed Apple’s growth to strong iPhone 12 performance and even better demand for the older iPhone 11, which is said to have offset lower-than-expected demand for the iPhone 12 mini.
Xiaomi achieved its best performance for all quarters, delivering 49 million units and recording growth of 62 percent with a market share of 14 percent, according to the report.
“In addition to the great value of the product, Xiaomi is now also taking steps to recruit local talent, become more channel-friendly and be a leader in high-end innovation, as seen with the Mi 11 Ultra and its recently foldable Mi Mix Fold, said Canalys Research Manager Ben Stanton. He added that Xiaomi’s huge volume gives distributors a better opportunity to make money from competing brands.
They took fourth and fifth place Опо (11 percent market share) and Vivo (10 percent market share), which delivered 37.6 million and 36 million units, respectively. Other smartphone brands took a cumulative market share of 28 percent with 95.9 million shipments. This includes the former number 1 in the world Huawei, a victim of US sanctions, grabbed seventh place with a shipment of 18.6 million units in the first quarter of 2021.
The first quarter of 2021 also witnessed Lg’s exit from the smartphone business. Canalys analyst Sanyam Chaurasia said the development was “symbolic of a new era in the smartphone market and proves that aggressive pricing and channel strategy are more important than hardware differentiation today.” He said LG, which holds most of its stake in America (80 percent of the total in 2020), closing stores means new opportunities for Motorola,, TCL,, Nokia, and ZTE at price points below $ 200 (approximately Rs. 15,000).
As mentioned, regions such as Europe, which are recovering better from COVID-19, were the drivers of shipment growth in the first quarter of 2021. And regions, including India – at the height of the pandemic – were de-prioritized by some brands.
Canalys said the supply of critical components, such as chipsets, has quickly become a major concern and will hamper the supply of smartphones in the coming quarters. The shortage will also give “global brands more power to negotiate the distribution, putting additional pressure on smaller brands and may force many to follow LG out the door.”