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Apple iPhone Tops Global Smartphone Market in Q4 2021

by Linda Sui | 1月 28, 2022

According to new research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments fell -3% YoY to 365 million units in Q4 2021. Full-year smartphone shipments rose +5% YoY to 1.36 billion units in 2021. Apple iPhone topped the global smartphone market with a healthy 22% share in Q4 2021. Samsung maintained first place with 20% share in full-year 2021.

Global smartphone shipments fell -3% YoY to 365 million units in Q4 2021. Factory constraints and component shortages continued to restrict smartphone supply in the final quarter of last year. Full-year smartphone shipments rose +5% YoY to 1.36 billion units in 2021, recovering from a sharp Covid-led decline of -8% YoY during 2020.

We estimate Apple shipped 80 million iPhones and topped the global smartphone market with a healthy 22% share in Q4 2021. Demand was strong for the new iPhone 13 series in China and other markets. Samsung shipped 69 million smartphones, up +12% YoY, for 19% global marketshare in Q4 2021. Samsung had a good quarter, led by its innovative Flip and Fold 5G models. Samsung grew faster than all its major rivals. Samsung ramped up volumes in North and South America amid the withdrawal of LG, however the competition in Asia remained fierce. Samsung maintained first place for full-year 2021, with 20% global smartphone marketshare, followed by Apple in second spot.

Xiaomi shipped 45 million smartphones and took third place with 12% global marketshare in Q4 2021, up slightly from 11% a year ago. Xiaomi benefitted from the withdrawal of Huawei and LG and expanded its retail footprint into all major regions last year. OPPO (OnePlus) held fourth spot and captured 9% global smartphone marketshare during Q4 2021. Vivo stayed fifth with 8% global smartphone marketshare in Q4 2021. OPPO (OnePlus) and Vivo both lost ground in the final quarter of last year, as 5G competition from Honor and other smartphone competitors intensified sharply at home in China.

Global competition among other major smartphone brands, beyond the top-five, was fierce during Q4 2021. Honor, Lenovo-Motorola, Realme and Transsion all outperformed the overall market and posted double-digit growth rates. Honor continued to soar in China. Lenovo-Motorola gained share from LG in the Americas. Realme had a very strong quarter in India, China, and elsewhere. Transsion held firm across the Africa region.

We forecast global smartphone shipments to grow a further +3% YoY in full-year 2022. This year will be a tale of two halves. Component shortages, price inflation, and Covid uncertainty will continue to weigh on the smartphone market during the first half of 2022, before the situation eases in the second half due to Covid vaccines, interest rate rises by central banks, and less supply disruption at factories.

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Shipments & Marketshare in Q4 2021 and 2021 [1]

Q4 2021 SP chart

[1]  Numbers are rounded.

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