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Smartphone Sales Dropped by 3% in Q4 2021

Apple
Apple was the top smartphone provider in Q4, 2021 with 22% of the global market. (Image credit: Apple)

BOSTON—According to new research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments fell 3% to 365 million units in Q4 2021, compared to a year earlier, and the Apple iPhone topped the global smartphone market with a healthy 22% share in Q4 2021.

For the full year, however, smartphone shipments to 1.36 billion units in 2021, up 5% compared to 2020, and Samsung remained in first place with 20% share in full-year 2021.

Linda Sui, senior director at Strategy Analytics, noted that “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.”

Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics, added that “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 market share 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 market share, followed by Apple in second spot.”

Xiaomi shipped 45 million smartphones and took third place with 12% global market share in Q4 2021, up slightly from 11% a year ago, the researchers noted, benefitting from the withdrawal of Huawei and LG and expanded its retail footprint into all major regions last year. 

OPPO (OnePlus) held the fourth spot and captured 9% global smartphone market share during Q4 2021. Vivo stayed fifth with 8% global smartphone market share 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, the company said. 

In terms of 2022, Linda Sui, senior director at Strategy Analytics, said that “We forecast global smartphone shipments to grow a mild 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.”

(Image credit: Strategy Analytics)

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.