Smartphone manufacturers shipped 345.5 million units in the first quarter, up 25.5 percent from 275.2 million units a year earlier, as demand continues to rise, market research firm International Data Corp (IDC) said in a report last week.
Even accounting for a low basis of comparison due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which made last year’s first quarter one of the worst in smartphone history, and despite the impacts of the ongoing semiconductor shortage, first-quarter shipments were still impressive as demand exceeded expectations, IDC said on Wednesday last week.
“The recovery is proceeding faster than we expected, clearly demonstrating a healthy appetite for smartphones globally,” IDC research director Nabila Popal wrote in the report, adding that the growth is coming from years of repressed refresh cycles with a boost from 5G adoption.
“But above all, it is a clear illustration of how smartphones are becoming an increasingly important element of our everyday life — a trend that is expected to continue as we head into a post-pandemic world, with many consumers carrying forward the new smartphone use cases which emerged from the pandemic,” Popal added.
Shipments increased in all regions, but the greatest gains came from China and the Asia-Pacific region, with shipments from China growing 30 percent year-on-year and those in the Asia-Pacific region advancing 28 percent, IDC said.
China and the Asia-Pacific region are the largest markets in terms of smartphone shipments, accounting for half of all global shipments.
Samsung Electronics Co regained its spot as the world’s biggest smartphone vendor in the first quarter, with shipments rising 28.8 percent year-on-year to 75.3 million units, giving it a market share of 21.8 percent, the report said.
“The new [Galaxy] S21 Series did well for Samsung, mainly thanks to a successful pricing strategy, shaving off US$200 from last year’s flagship launch,” it said.
Apple Inc followed with shipments increasing 50.4 percent to 55.2 million units, thanks to the continued success of its iPhone 12 series, it added.
The company secured a 16 percent market share and is expected to launch new iPhone models in the second half of this year, a development that analysts said might bolster its overall shipments.
In China, Xiaomi Corp (小米) maintained its growth trend by shipping 48.6 million units, up 64.8 percent year-on-year.
Shipments from Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀) and Vivo Communication Technology Co (維沃) increased 64.5 percent and 40.7 percent to 37.5 million units and 34.9 million units respectively, the report said.
Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo ranked third, fourth and fifth for shipments in the quarter with a market share of 14.1, 10.8 and 10.1 percent respectively.
The companies took advantage of a retreat by Huawei Technologies Co (華為), which dropped out of the top five for the first time in years amid increased pressure from US sanctions, the report said.
“In the low to mid-priced segment, it is these vendors that are gaining the most from Huawei’s decline, while most of the high-end share is going to Apple and Samsung,” IDC said.
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