June 24, 2024


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Samsung led smartphone shipments for 2021, beating out Apple, research says


Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Around 1.35 billion smartphones were shipped in 2021, according to IDC’s quarterly mobile phone tracker. Overall, fewer smartphones were shipped in the final quarter of 2021 compared to Q4 2020 but overall, more were shipped last year than in 2020, IDC said Thursday.

“The supply chain and component shortages started to have meaningful impact on the smartphone market as we entered the second half of the year, and this continues to be the case as we’ve now entered 2022,” said Ryan Reith, IDC’s group VP of Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

IDC said it has seen strong interest in foldable phones and 5G phones.

Read more: Best phones to buy for 2022

Samsung retook the top spot for smartphone shipments in 2021, holding 20% market share globally after shipping 272 million phones during the year. Apple came in second, at 235.7 million phones, Xiaomi with 191 million, Oppo with 133.5 million and Vivo with 128.3 million.

Slightly different numbers from Counterpoint Research, also released Thursday, showed similar results: Samsung in first place with 271 million phones shipped during 2021, Apple in second with 237.9 million, Xiaomi with 190 million, Oppo with 143.2 million and Vivo with 131.3 million.

Read also: Best iPhone for 2022: Which of Apple’s 8 phones is right for you?

It’s the first time the smartphone market has grown annually since 2017, according to Counterpoint, with Apple clocking record shipments.

“The global smartphone recovery in 2021 followed a pandemic-hit 2020 and subsequent pent-up demand,” said Harmeet Singh Walia, Counterpoint senior analyst, adding demand was driven by Apple’s first 5G phone, the iPhone 12. “The market recovery could have been even better if not for the component shortages.”

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