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Global smartphone sales grew 26% in Q1 2021, says Gartner

New figures from Gartner shows a 26% jump in global smartphone sales to end users in the first quarter of 2021, after last year’s steep decline, while worldwide mobile phone sales surged 22% year-over-year.

The rise comes amid an “improvement in consumer outlook” following the global pandemic, said Anshul Gupta, a senior research director at Gartner.

 “However, one cannot ignore that the base for comparison is also lower in 2020, than it was in 2019. This explains the double-digit growth,” he added. 

As per the report, the top three smartphone global vendors - Samsung, Apple, and Xaomi - maintained their respective position in the first quarter of 2021.

Samsung came out on top with a 20.3% market share in the first quarter 2021, followed by Apple with a 15.5% market share.

Samsung’s unit sales globally were driven by the launch of its mid-priced smartphones, such as phones priced under $150. The early shipping of its 5G smartphones also positively impacted its smartphone sales growth, Gartner said. 

Apple dropped back into second position in the first quarter of 2021, after securing the top spot in the fourth quarter of 2020. The launch of its first ever 5G iPhone led to continued demand in 2021.

Gupta noted that 5G will continue to be the major growth driver for Apple in 2021. “Device upgrades will fuel demand for Apple’s flagship phone throughout the year,” he said.

Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi with 12.9% share came third, followed by both Vivo and Oppo with an equal share of 10.2%.

All the top five global smartphone vendors registered strong (year-over-year) growth over 2020 indicating that the “phone market is consolidating around the top five vendors,” Garnter said. 

Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo witnessed an increase in demand for 5G smartphones and made the most of weakening sales from Huawei and LG globally in this quarter.

“The smartphone industry has not yet been impacted by the global chip shortage as the demand and supply equilibrium is met. However, this may change in the coming quarters leading to an increase in the average selling price of smartphones globally,” the report concluded.