Apple beat Samsung to become the world’s leading seller of smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a new data report from research company Gartner. Samsung had sold out Apple since the same quarter in 2016.
Gartner estimates that Apple sold 79.94 million during the quarter, while Samsung managed to sell 62.17 million. Samsung did not release new flagship phones that quarter. Apple’s sales were driven by the introduction of the new iPhone 12 series, which generally sold better than last year’s iPhone updates. Apple sold 69.6 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2019.
However, this victory for Apple occurred in the midst of a general downturn in the smartphone market. Total smartphone sales fell by 12.5 per cent in 2020 and by 5.4 per cent in the fourth quarter.
The lower rate of decline in the quarter compared to the rest of the year was attributed to “sales of more 5G smartphones and smartphones with lower to intermediate levels”, according to Gartner’s Anshul Gupta.
Samsung saw an overall decline in smartphone sales through 2020 of 14.6 percent, although the company was still the best smartphone seller throughout the year, regardless of Apple’s Q4 victory. Gartner notes that Samsung faces stiff competition in many markets from Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo, all of which grew during the year.
At the same time, a besieged Huawei saw the biggest sales decline of the year. Sales fell 24.1 percent. Gupta said that 2021 smartphone sales will be driven by the adoption of 5G phones outside China.
Not all iPhone 12 models are sold the same. We reported earlier this month that the iPhone 12 mini moved significantly fewer devices than the iPhone 12 or even the iPhone 12 Pro – bad news for small phone lovers. Still, some analysts and leaks predict that the mini-size will return in the iPhone 13 series later this year.
Listing image by Samuel Axon