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Global Smartphone ASP Growth Drives Record Q4 2021 Revenue

by David Kerr | Feb 17, 2022

Q4 2021 was a blockbuster quarter for the global smartphone industry:

Wholesale revenues grew strongly to a record $127B in Q4 2021 driven by the Apple iPhone supercycle and ever increasing ASP especially in the high end and premium tiers. 

For full-year 2021, global smartphone wholesale revenue and ASP grew +10% and +15% YoY respectively.

Supply constrains from chipset shortages continued to adversely impact the industry but is easing slowly as we progress in 2022. Global smartphone shipments fell -3% annually in Q4 2021 but profitability improved +29% in Q4 2021, mainly lifted by Apple and Samsung.

Apple maintained the first spot by revenue this quarter, and its revenue share significantly improved +7 points over Q4 2020.

Samsung maintained the No.2 position with +3 point growth in wholesale revenue  

Xiaomi held  the No. 3 position with nearly 6% revenue share this quarter. OPPO and vivo were in the top five list by revenue share this quarter.         

Premium smartphones ( wholesale US$300 and above) contributed to 34% volume share and almost 75% value share of the total smartphone industry worldwide in Q4 2021.   

Apple dominated US$600+ bands, and Samsung led the pack in entry (US$36-99), mid tier (US$100-190), high (US$191-299) and US$400-599 bands. Honor is  the largest player in US$300-399 band in Q4 2021.
The $600+ wholesale tier represents almost one in four shipments in the flagship rich fourth quarter. Overall, the feature wars, increasing display size, demand for ever more processing power and ever better imaging and video continue to fuel upward ASPs.

While Chinese vendors Xiaomi, Oppo, vivo, realme,  and Honor have made significant gain in volume share, share of revenue and profits remain a challenge. The 5 vendors captured over 40% volume share in 2021 but share of revenue barely made it past 25%. 

Recent upward movement in terms of ASP for these Chinese vendors must continue to if share of industry profits are to be more than an afterthought. Riding the wave of 5G adoption outside of China will provide significant volumes but the competition and price points will be intense.

As the old saying goes sales/volume for vanity, profits for sanity.

Strategy Analytics clients can access the full report here. 

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