Samsung topples Apple as top smartphone manufacturer in Q1 2021; Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo among top five

Published April 26, 2021, 9:15 AM

by Lionell Macahilig

Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung topples Apple as the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer during the first quarter of 2021, according to the latest report released by Strategy Analytics.

The report shows that 340 million units were shipped worldwide during the quarter, equivalent to a 24% year-over-year (YoY) growth and the highest increase since 2015.

Strategy Analytics cited the increase in telecommuting and online learning arrangements across the world driven by the COVID-19 pandemic as the cause of growth.

Apart from Samsung and Apple, three Chinese smartphone vendors – Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo – also made it to the top five. These five brands occupy 76% of the smartphone market.

Samsung led the pack with the largest market share at 23% or equivalent to 77 million smartphone shipments

Galaxy A Series smartphones contributed to the bulk of Samsung shipments because of their affordability compared to the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21.

Apple trailed behind Samsung with a 17% market share or equivalent to 57 million iPhone units shipped worldwide.

Apple was the top smartphone maker during Q4 2020 with its sales volume driven by the iPhone 12.

Apple shipped a total of 81.8 million units during the quarter, the highest number of iPhone units sold in a quarter, based on a Canalys report last year.

Xiaomi occupied third place with a 15% market share or 49 million global smartphone shipments, a jump from last year’s 10% market share.

The increase was caused by the brand’s strong activity in China and India, and growing presence in Africa, Europe, and Latin America.

Oppo took the fourth spot with its 38 million smartphone shipments during the period. Vivo, meanwhile, got the fifth slot with 37 million smartphones shipped and an impressive 85% YoY growth.

In general, the Chinese smartphone market performed very well during Q1 2021. Strategy Analytics Senior Director Linda Sui linked the growth to the success of 5G smartphones in different price segments.

Chinese smartphone shipments hit more than 35% YoY growth or equivalent to 94 million units during the period.

This is despite the shortages in chips and supply chain issues that will remain as challenges for smaller smartphone players in the coming quarters, Sui added.