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Apple overtakes Samsung to become top global smartphone player in Q4

Apple accounted for 22% of worldwide smartphone shipments in Q4 2021, thanks to strong demand for the iPhone 13. But overall shipments for the quarter grew just 1%, as vendors faced supply chain problems and a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Samsung took second place, down from the top spot in Q3 2021, with a market share of 20%. Xiaomi maintained its third-place position with a 12% share. OPPO and vivo completed the top five with 9% and 8% shares respectively.

“Apple is back at the top of the smartphone market after three quarters, driven by a stellar performance from the iPhone 13,” said Canalys Analyst Sanyam Chaurasia. “Apple saw unprecedented iPhone performance in Mainland China, with aggressive pricing for its flagship devices keeping the value proposition strong. Apple’s supply chain is starting to recover, but it was still forced to cut production in Q4 amid shortages of key components and could not make enough iPhones to meet demand. In prioritized markets, it maintained adequate delivery times, but in some markets its customers had to wait to get their hands on the latest iPhones.”

“Supply chain disruption affected low-end vendors the most,” said Canalys VP Mobility Nicole Peng. “Component manufacturers are eking out additional production, but it will take years for major foundries to significantly increase chip capacity. Smartphone brands are already innovating to make the most of their circumstances, tweaking device specs in response to available materials, approaching emerging chipmakers to secure new sources for ICs, focusing product lines on the best-selling models and staggering new product releases. These practices lend an advantage to larger brands, and they are set to stay for the short term, as bottlenecks will not ease until the second half of 2022.”

Worldwide smartphone shipments and growth
Canalys Preliminary Smartphone Market Pulse: Q4 2021
Vendor Q4 2020 market share Q4 2021 market share
Apple 23% 22%
Samsung 17% 20%
Xiaomi 12% 12%
OPPO 10% 9%
vivo 9% 8%
     
Preliminary estimates are subject to change upon final release
Note: percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding
Note: OnePlus is included in OPPO shipments from Q4 2021
Source: Canalys estimates (sell-in shipments), Smartphone Analysis, January 2022

CT Bureau

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