Apple’s Lead In Global Sales Of Smartphones Attributed To Consumers Upgrading to iPhones With 5G

NEWS: 02.24.21 – The galaxy has a new leader in the smartphone market but consumers might have not necessarily taken note.

Apple, Inc. has surpassed its rival, Samsung Electronics, as the top vendor of smartphones globally with sales of its latest iPhone model: the iPhone 12. With the media’s coverage of the Cupertino, California-based company as of late centered on developments surrounding the “Apple Car” — primarily with regard to another Seoul, South Korea-based company’s deal to manufacture an Apple-branded autonomous electric vehicle (EV) — the news of Apple’s latest record breaking achievement may have been, to use an automobile related cliché, thrown under the bus (figuratively speaking).

An employee at Apple’s distribution center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania prepares a shipment of the iPhone 12 which will be shipped to stores and customers across the East Coast and Canada. (Photo: Apple, Inc.)

The website, Cult of Mac, reported earlier this week that this is the first time Apple has achieved this particular milestone since Q4 2016.

No. 1: Smartphone Vendor

According to market research firm, Gardner — as cited in the report by Cult of Mac — the success of last year’s iPhone models made Apple, once again, the world’s top smartphone vendor (in terms of sales figures) for Q4 2020 and going into Q1 2021.

Gardner noted that Apple sold 79.9 million iPhones versus Samsung which sold 62.1 million of its smartphones. Cult of Mac (doing its own calculations) reported that in Q4 2020, the Cupertino, California-based company carved out 20.8% of the global smartphone market while in comparison, the Seoul, South Korea-based company managed only 16.2%.

However? Overall, Samsung outsold Apple in 2020, selling a total of 253 million of its smartphones compared to the estimated 199.8 million iPhones that were sold. Cult of Mac reported that Samsung’s global market share last year was, as a result, actually larger at 18.8% in comparison to Apple’s 14.8%.

Additionally, Gardner noted that among the top five smartphone vendors in 2020? Huawei recorded the highest decline which made it lose its second place position to Apple, putting it at No. 3.

The success of the iPhone 12 — the Cupertino, California-based company’s best selling iPhone in years — appears to have allowed Apple, as reported by Cult of Mac, to break down a sales wall it hasn’t been able to breach for quite awhile now. The website attributed this to the availability of 5G-enabled iPhones which fought off stiff competition from Samsung: Apple’s, “longtime frenemy” (as quoted verbatim from the report).

No. 1: 5G Smartphone

In a report back in December of last year — which cited notes from the market research firm, Counterpoint Research — the website, 9to5Mac, reported that the iPhone 12 became the world’s best selling 5G smartphone during the month of October.

One of the key factors that Counterpoint Research attributed to the success of the launch was the large pent-up demand for 5G upgrades, especially within the iOS user base. According to the market research firm, this translated into sales for Apple.

9to5Mac reported that as a result of those sales in October, the iPhone 12 captured 16% of the total global smartphone market for that time period (prior to the end of Q4 2020).

At the time, it was the market research firm’s view that going forward, the demand for the iPhone 12 would likely remain strong through Q4 2020. However, due to its late launch, Counterpoint Research noted that some of the sales would continue through the months after that, maintaining the momentum of last year’s iPhone models into early 2021.

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No. 1: Smartphone Market

Earlier this year in January, the website, iDrop News, reported that Apple had just beat out Samsung, soaring past its rival to become the new leader in the global smartphone market. The news came following the Cupertino, California-based company’s announcement of its financial report for Q4 2020 which revealed that of its more than $100 billion in revenue? $65 billion had come from sales of the iPhone.

In the earnings call — as detailed by iDrop News in its report — Apple’s chief executive officer, Tim Cook, shared that Apple can now boast of over one billion iPhones actively in use, an increase of over 100 million since late 2019.

iDrop News reported that within the first two weeks of the iPhone 12 going on sale last October? Apple had already captured 24% of the global 5G smartphone market. That figure would easily eclipse the top selling 5G-enabled smartphones sold by both Samsung and Huawei, which, in comparison, only accounted for 17% of the total market share globally.

According to market research firm, Canalys Research — as cited by iDrop News in its report — the global smartphone market overall declined by approximately 2% in Q4 2020, with Samsung seeing a decline of 12%. On the other end of the spectrum, Apple, in comparison, bucked the trend and saw an increase of 4% year-over-year.

In its own analysis of Apple’s newfound status as the top vendor of smartphones globally, iDrop News reported that the rise was the culmination of a prediction made by market research firm, Strategy Analytics, which predicted back in late 2019 that the Cupertino, California-based company’s first entry into the 5G mobile phone race would be such a huge deal that it would unseat the competition, primarily Samsung, as the dominant player in the global smartphone market with Apple not having to do much more than simply, “show up to the party” (as quoted verbatim from the report).

Related Reading: from this column’s article archives (October 2020) – “Upgrading To The iPhone 12 And Making The Switch To 5G? Not So Fast…

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