COVID-19 compelled many countries to implement long-term lockdowns and restrictions in 2021, which has ravaged smartphone makers’ supply chains. The current shortage of semiconductors has also had a negative impact which led to a component shortage and issues with availability. Despite these huge bottlenecks the smartphone market grew in the last time it has since the year 2017. Five of the top brands recorded significant growth in their smartphones’ shipments and shipments, with Apple, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo growing by double-digits and shipping record numbers of smartphones.
It is up to you which figures you trust, Counterpoint Research estimates that global smartphone sales increased by 4% year-over-year (YoY) up to 1.39 billion units. IDC says the market increased by 5.7 percent to 1.35 billion as of 2020. But both companies believe that shipments decreased in the second quarter of the year because of the lack of components. If it wasn’t for the shortage the market would be even bigger in 2021.
Samsung leading once again
Samsung kept its lead in the market and sold 271 million smartphones over the course of the year — an increase of 6percent YoY. This was despite Samsung’s Vietnam factory closing in June as a result of COVID’s lockdowns as well as other supply issues. The middle-priced Galaxy A and M series phones saw a steady demand however Samsung was faced with fierce rivals with Apple in addition to Chinese makers in the US in the US and South Asian markets. The introduction of the Galaxy Z Flip3 and Fold3 in the second quarter of the year helped Samsung to expand its presence in the premium market.
Apple came in second place and sold an unprecedented 237.9 million iPhones from 2021. In the first quarter of the calendar year, the growth was driven by the huge market for iPhone 12 series. iPhone 12 series in India, China, and Europe. In the wake of its iPhone 13 series launch in the third quarter of last year, Apple became the top smartphone manufacturer in China in the fourth quarter of 2021, after six years. It also overtook Samsung to become temporarily the most popular smartphone brand during the period.
Xiaomi recorded the highest growth (31 percent) across all manufacturers. It delivered a record number of 190 million units over the entire year, due to demand from India, Europe, and China It is certainly taking advantage of Huawei’s demise. Due to shortages of components the company’s shipments fell in the quarters of Q3 and Q4. If this had not happened it could have been higher.
Oppo also had a great year, increasing its sales by 28% over 2020 and shipping an unprecedented 143.2 million phones. The company’s products were in high demand in China during the first quarter of the year, and sales increased throughout Europe, South-East Asia, and the Middle East in the second period. To complete in the top 5, Vivo saw its smartphone sales increase by 21% year-over-year to a record 131.3 million units sold by 2021. However, it saw sales decrease by 9% during the final quarter of the year and was relegated to the top spot within China over Apple.
Motorola may benefit from LG’s departure from the smartphone industry within the US and was the fastest-growing company of the year, but it was not able to get into the list of top 5 brands. The market for smartphones is predicted to grow further by 2022 due to rising demand and the reduction of the shortage of components.
Alice is a professional writer and editor at Research Snipers, she has a keen interest in technology and gadgets, She works as a junior news editor at Research Snipers.