Global Smartphone shipments around the world surged by more than 25% during 2021’s first quarter, an ongoing sign of recovery from the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. For the quarter, shipments rose by 27% to 347 million units, research firm Canalys said on Thursday, and by 25.5% to 346 million, according to fellow researcher IDC.
Smartphone industry recovery is accelerating quicker than expected, showing a healthy demand for smartphones throughout the world, IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers research director Nabila Popal said. All the major global regions have contributed to the stellar growth. But China and the rest of Asia-Pacific kicked in more than their fair share, accounting for gains of 30% and 28%, respectively.
“However, the growth is still very real,” Popal added. “When compared to two years ago, shipments are 11% higher. The growth is coming from years of repressed refresh cycles with a boost from 5G. But above all, it is a clear illustration of how smartphones are becoming an increasingly important element of our everyday life.”
The Giant Samsung took home the top spot last quarter with shipments of around 76 million and a market share of 22%. The company saw hefty demand for its new Galaxy S21 due largely to its decision to trim $200 off the price of its flagship phone. Apple came in second with shipments of 52 million-55 million and a 15-16% slice of the market. Though sales of the new iPhone 12 Mini have been lackluster, demand for other iPhone 12 flavors and the older iPhone 11 was solid.
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Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo rounded up the top five. Xiaomi scored its best quarter ever, according to Canalys, shipping 49 million units, a gain of 62% from the prior year’s quarter. Ben Stanton, Canalys research manager, pegged the company’s strong growth on its efforts to recruit local talent, take greater advantage of retail channels, and capture a lead in high-end innovation.
Apple and Samsung have been scooping up buyers in the higher-end, while Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have been capturing customers in the low- and mid-priced segments. Among the Chinese vendors, Xiaomi is sizzling right now, though that status could change.
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“The race is not over,” Stanton said. “Oppo and Vivo are hot on [Xiaomi’s] heels, and are positioning in the mid-range in many regions to box Xiaomi in at the low end. Honor is also a looming threat. It has already struck supply chain deals and is now signing distribution agreements to re-enter several markets in the second half of 2021. Xiaomi is leading the pack, but the race has only just started.”