Apple tops global smartphone sales in Q4 2021

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Apple’s share of the smartphone market reached 22% in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to 20% for Samsung, which fell to second place. The American firm could have done even better if component supply problems had not forced it to reduce production.

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After three consecutive quarters of oscillating between second and third place in the world’s Top 5 smartphone manufacturers, Apple and its iPhones have regained pole position. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the company captured 22% of global mobile terminal sales, thus relegating Samsung behind it with 20% market share (PDM). The other players in the sector have maintained their ranks, Xiaomi remaining number 3 (12% of market share), Oppo number 4 (9%) and Vivo number 5 (8%).

The iPhone 13 serves as a locomotive for Apple

Canalys, which publishes these figures, explains this evolution at the top of the ranking of smartphone manufacturers by the exceptional volume of quarterly deliveries of the iPhone 13 launched in September 2021. “iPhone sales have experienced unprecedented levels in China , stimulated by the aggressive prices of the flagship models of the range”, specifies Sanyam Chaurasia, analyst within the research firm. They could even have soared more if the Apple brand had not been “forced to reduce production in the fourth quarter, due to the shortage of key components”.

Despite everything, this context of supply problem favors brands such as Apple positioned on the high end. It is, in fact, on the manufacturers of entry-level terminals that its impact is the strongest. Their sales volumes do not give them the same ability to negotiate with component suppliers. Nor do they have the same ability to drown in the final price of their products the increase in their suppliers’ prices resulting from the imbalance between supply and demand.

Apple, seasonal number one

The crowning of Apple as the world’s number one smartphone in the fourth quarter does not mean that the company led by Tim Cook will still occupy this place in the quarters to come. Since 2017, the manufacturer has taken first place in the world ranking of smartphone manufacturers every year in the fourth quarter, only to lose it during the year and then recover it. Result, it is still and always Samsung which wins each year the title of number one smartphone over 12 months.

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