Canalys: Worldwide smartphone market surges 27% as key regions subdue the pandemic

Shanghai (China), Bengaluru (India), Singapore, Reading (UK) and Portland (US) – Thursday, 29 April 2021

In Q1 2021, worldwide smartphone shipments reached 347 million units, up 27% year on year. Samsung took first place, shipping 76.5 million to take a 22% share. Apple shipped 52.4 million iPhones, to take a 15% share. Its iPhone 12 Mini has sold below expectations, but strength in other iPhone 12 models, as well as stronger demand for the older iPhone 11, helped it maintain strong momentum. Xiaomi clocked its best single-quarter performance ever, growing 62% and shipping 49.0 million units. Oppo and Vivo completed the top five, shipping 37.6 million units and 36.0 million units respectively. Huawei, which no longer includes Honor, is now in seventh place with 18.6 million units, as the former world number one remains shackled by US sanctions.

“In addition to great product value, Xiaomi is now also making strides to recruit local talent, become more channel-friendly and lead in high-end innovation, as seen with the Mi 11 Ultra and its recent foldable, the Mi Mix Fold, said Canalys Research Manager Ben Stanton. "Its competitors offer superior channel margin, but Xiaomi’s sheer volume actually gives distributors a better opportunity to make money than rival brands. But the race is not over. Oppo and Vivo are hot on its 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.”

Canalys - Worldwide smartphone shipments Q1 2021

“LG, a stalwart of the smartphone industry, is quitting this year,” said Canalys Analyst Sanyam Chaurasia. “It is symbolic of a new era in the smartphone market. It proves that aggressive pricing and channel strategy are more important than hardware differentiation in the modern day. LG holds the majority of its share in the Americas, at 80% of its total in 2020, which presents new opportunities for the likes of Motorola, TCL, Nokia and ZTE, particularly at price points below US$200. As the smartphone market continues to consolidate, this will not be the last time the incumbent vendors fight over the remains of a defeated brand.”

Canalys - Xiaomi's smartphone shipments Q1 2021

“COVID-19 is still a major consideration, but it is no longer the main bottleneck,” said Stanton. “Supply of critical components, such as chipsets, has quickly become a major concern, and will hinder smartphone shipments in the coming quarters. And it will drive global brands to rethink regional strategies. Some brands, for example, have de-prioritized device shipments in India, amid the new COVID-19 wave, and instead are focusing efforts on recovering regions, such as Europe. And while the shortages persist, it will grant larger companies a unique advantage, as the global brands have more power to negotiate allocation. This will put further pressure on smaller brands and could force many to follow LG out of the door.”

Worldwide smartphone shipments and growth

Canalys Smartphone Market Pulse: Q1 2021

Vendor

Q1 2021 shipments (million)

Q1 2021

Market share

Q1 2020 shipments (million)

Q1 2020

Market share

Annual
growth

Samsung 

76.5

22%

59.6

22%

+28%

Apple

52.4

15%

37.1

14%

+41%

Xiaomi

49.0

14%

30.2

11%

+62%

Oppo

37.6

11%

23.5

9%

+60%

Vivo

36.0

10%

24.2

9%

+48%

Others

95.9

28%

97.8

36%

 -2% 

Total 

347.4

100.0%

272.5

100.0%

+27% 

Note: percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Source: Canalys estimates (sell-in shipments), Smartphone Analysis, April 2021

 

For more information, please contact:

Canalys China
Nicole Peng: nicole_peng@canalys.com +86 150 2186 8330
Amber Liu: amber_liu@canalys.com +86 136 2177 7745

Canalys India
Rushabh Doshi: rushabh_doshi@canalys.com +91 99728 54174
Sanyam Chaurasia: sanyam_chaurasia@canalys.com +91 89820 33054

Canalys Singapore
Shengtao Jin: shengtao_jin@canalys.com +65 6657 9303
Le Xuan Chiew: lexuan_chiew@canalys.com 

Canalys UK
Ben Stanton: ben_stanton@canalys.com +44 7824 114 350
Kelly Wheeler: kelly_wheeler@canalys.com +44 7919 563 270

Canalys USA
Brian Lynch: brian_lynch@canalys.com +1 503 927 5489
Marcy Ryan: marcy_ryan@canalys.com +1 650 862 4299

About Canalys

Canalys is an independent analyst company that strives to guide clients on the future of the technology industry and to think beyond the business models of the past. We deliver smart market insights to IT, channel and service provider professionals around the world. We stake our reputation on the quality of our data, our innovative use of technology and our high level of customer service.

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 Canalys: Worldwide smartphone market surges 27% as key regions subdue the pandemic

 


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