According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments were 340 million units in Q1 2021, up +24% YoY representing the highest growth since 2015. The smartphone market rebound was driven by the healthy demand of consumers with aging devices and a phenomenal 5G push from Chinese vendors.
The China smartphone market had a sensational quarter driven by 5G product success across multiple price tiers. China smartphone shipments were up +35% YoY reaching 94 million units in Q1 2021. Globally, the top five vendors combined took a 76% market share in Q1 2021, up from 71% one year ago. Chip shortages and supply side constraints did not have a significant impact in Q1 among the top 5 brands but was and will be a concern for smaller vendors over the next few quarters in our view.
Samsung remains the largest vendor shipping 77 million smartphones globally in the first quarter, growing +32% YoY from 58 million units in Q1 2020. Samsung’s newly launched more affordable A series 4G and 5G phones, and the earlier launched Galaxy S21 series combined drove solid performance in the quarter. Apple shipped 57 million units iPhones worldwide, capturing second place with a 17% volume market share. The strong momentum behind the 5G iPhone 12 series continued across multiple markets.
Xiaomi held third place in terms of volume of smartphones shipped for the second quarter in a row. It shipped 49 million smartphones globally and took a 15% market share in Q1 2021, up from 10% one year ago. The vendor maintained strong momentum in both India and China, and the expansion in Europe, Latin America and Africa region also started to bear fruit. OPPO (not including Realme and OnePlus) won 11% market share and remained the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the first quarter, followed by vivo. vivo grew an impressive 85% YOY in Q1 2021.
Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Shipments (M Units) and Market Share (%) by Top Five Vendors.