Global Smartphone Market Report For Q4, 2020 – IDC, Canalys, CounterPoint

Today, a few market research agencies released their reports about the smartphones market. IDC, CounterPoint Research, and Canalys shared their data about the brands’ performance in the fourth quarter of 2020.


According to IDC, Apple’s iPhone shipments soared 22% in the fourth quarter, accounting for 23.4% of the global smartphone market. And its ranking jumped from fourth in the third quarter to the top of the list. Thus, it’s the number one in the world.

IDC data shows that the global smartphone market continues to improve in the fourth quarter of 2020, with shipments increasing by 4.3% year-on-year. In the quarter, global smartphone manufacturers sold 385.9 million devices.

IDC global smartphone market Q4 2020

There is a clear shift between the top five. Driven by the success of the iPhone 12 series, Apple performed well in the fourth quarter of 2020 and returned to the first place, with 90.1 million shipments, a 23.4% market share, and a 22.2% year-on-year growth.

This morning, Apple released its first quarter results for the 2021 fiscal year. The report shows that revenue in Greater China was $21.313 billion, an increase of 57% from $13.578 billion in the same period last year. Apple CEO Cook said that the new iPhone upgrade set a record high in China.

Samsung ranked second with 73.9 million device shipments, with a market share of 19.1%. With the continued success of the A series and growth in almost every region, Samsung’s year-on-year growth rate is 6.2%.

Xiaomi ranked third with 43.3 million units and 11.2% market share. OPPO ranked fourth with 33.8 million units and 8.8% market share. Both companies successfully took advantage of the decline in Huawei’s shipments, which increased by 32.0% and 10%, respectively.

Huawei ranked fifth with a shipment of 32.3 million and a market share of 8.4%. The company continued to be hit by U.S. sanctions, which dropped 42.4% year-on-year.


The data details of the two parties are different, but they all point to the strong performance of the iPhone 12. As a result, Apple returned to the world’s first throne in the fourth quarter of 2020, and Xiaomi firmly occupied the third place.

Canalys data shows that in the fourth quarter of 2020, global smartphone shipments reached 359.6 million units, a slight decrease of 2% year-on-year. Apple sold the largest number of iPhones in history during the quarter, with sales of 81.8 million units, an increase of 4% over the same period last year.

Canalys global smartphone market Q4 2020

Samsung ranked second with 62 million units shipped, a 12% drop. Xiaomi, OPPO and VIVO entered the top five, each gaining share from Huawei (including Honor), which is plagued by sanctions.

Among them, Xiaomi increased 31% to 43.4 million units, OPPO increased 15% to 34.7 million units, and VIVO shipped 32.1 million units, an increase of 14%.

Huawei (including Honor) ranked sixth in the fourth quarter of 2020, with 32 million smartphones shipped. This is also the first time it has fallen out of the top five in the world in six years.

Canalys analyst Vincent Thielke said: ‘Apple is better positioned than its competitors on 5G, being heavily skewed towards developed markets, and mobile operator sales channels. But it also made savvy moves behind the scenes to propel its sales and profitability. The omission of a power plug from the iPhone retail box, which reduces weight and size, is making logistics significantly more efficient, amid the ongoing high cost of air freight due to the pandemic. And it also implemented channel-centric growth initiatives to target SMB customers, which have bolstered demand for its entire range of iPhones.’


According to this firm, the global smartphone market declined 1% Year-on-Year in Q4 2020. However, the market rose 8% Quarter-on-Quarter in Q4 2020. Thus, it is gradually recovering from the global impact of COVID-19. This is clearly seen in areas such as Western Europe and LATAM.

As CounterPoint claims, Samsung retained its top spot, shipping 255.7 million units in CY 2020, down 14% YoY. The decline is mainly due to a slow Q4 2020 due to intensifying competition. In fact, the Korean company is facing tough competition in the mid-range niche. And of course, its main rivals come from China. In the premium niche, there are no equals to the iPhone 12 series.

As expected, in the Q4, Apple got the top spot in the global smartphone market. However, despite the sanctions and severe component shortages after the escalated US trade ban, Huawei topped the number 3 position for CY 2020 thanks to its strong performance in China. It contributed around 70% of its total shipments.

As for Xiaomi, its global smartphone shipments grew 31% Year-on-Year to 43 million units in Q4 2020. In China, Xiaomi’s shipments increased 46% YoY to 12 million units due to the Single’s Day sales season and HONOR’s weakening performance.

OPPO grew 8% Year-on-Year and 10% Quarter-on-Quarter achieving 9% market share (34 million units) in Q4 2020. By the way, this is for the first time when OPPO and VIVO are able to outrun Huawei. Commenting on OPPO’s performance, Chaudhary said ‘OPPO’s strong performance was driven by its aggressive strategies to expand its presence in the overseas markets, particularly in Europe and the MEA (the Middle East and Africa). The brand leveraged the opportunity created by the absence of Huawei in major international markets. OPPO also performed well in the India market with its shipments growing 11% YoY in 2020. This growth was driven by pre-festive season promotions in October. Additionally, we saw the brand marking its entry into the IoT ecosystem through products such as Smart TVs.’

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