Apple has managed to beat Huawei to move into the second spot in terms of overall smartphone sales across the globe for the complete year 2020. Strong sales of iPhone 12 series smartphones in Q4 2020 managed to pull Apple to the top spot for the quarterly result. A new survey published by Gartner claims that global sales of smartphones to end users declined 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020 whereas smartphone sales declined 12.5% in full-year 2020.
“The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimized the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter.”
The launch of the 5G iPhone 12 series helped Apple record double-digit growth in the fourth quarter of 2020. Apple surpassed Samsung to retake the No. 1 global smartphone vendor spot. The last time Apple was the top smartphone vendor was in the fourth quarter for 2016.
In terms of full-year results for 2020, Samsung experienced a year-on-year decline of 14.6% in 2020, but this did not prevent it from retaining its No. 1 global smartphone vendor position in full year results. It faced tough competition from regional smartphone vendors such as Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo as these brands grew more aggressive in global markets. In 2020, Apple and Xiaomi were the only two smartphone vendors of the top five ranking to experience growth.
Huawei recorded the highest decline among the top five smartphone vendors which made it lose the No. 2 position to Apple in 2020 (see Table 2). The impact of the ban on use of Google applications on Huawei’s smartphones was detrimental to Huawei’s performance in the year and negatively affected sales.