Apple's new 5G iPhone 12 series helped the company win the top spot for the final quarter of last year.
Worldwide sales of smartphones dropped 5% in the last quarter of 2020, according to new analysis from Gartner. Sales were down 12.5% for the entire year.
Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, said in a press release that the sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimized the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020.
"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," Gupta said.
Apple did well in the fourth quarter thanks to the launch of the 5G iPhone 12 series. Double-digit growth during that quarter pushed Apple to take the No. 1 spot for global smartphone vendors in Q4 2020. The last time Apple was at the top of this list was Q4 2016, according to Gartner.
Here are the market share stats for Q4 2020 smartphone sales by vendor:
- Apple 20.8%
- Samsung 16.2%
- Xiaomi 11.3%
- OPPO 8.9%
- Huawei 8.9%
- Others 33.9%
Gartner's analysis found that Samsung experienced a year-over-year decline of 14.6% in 2020 but the drop wasn't enough for the manufacturer to lose the top spot in the full year results. In 2020, Apple and Xiaomi were the only two smartphone vendors in the top five to show sales growth, according to Gartner. The analysis also showed that Huawei recorded the highest decline among the top five vendors, allowing Apple to take the No. 2 spot for 2020 overall.
The top five vendors worldwide for smartphone sales for all of 2020 are:
- Samsung 18.8% market share
- Apple 14.8%
- Huawei 13.5%
- Xiaomi 10.8%
- OPPO 8.3%
- Others 33.7%
Gartner predicts that the rising demand for affordable 5G smartphones outside China will boost smartphone sales this year.
"In 2021, the availability of lower end 5G smartphones and innovative features will be deciding factors for end users to upgrade their existing smartphones," Gupta said in a press release.
As Daphne Leprince-Ringuet reported on ZDNet, Gartner's analysis found that Google's ban on Huawei parts in the Android operating system was a cause of this drop. The U.S. Department of Commerce added Huawei to its Entity List in 2019, which led to Google's decision. The entity list is published by the Bureau of Industry and Security and includes the names of foreign businesses, research institutions, government and private organizations, and individuals that are subject to specific license requirements for the export, re-export and/or transfer of specified items.
BIS first published the Entity List in February 1997 to inform the public of groups that have engaged in activities that could result in an increased risk of weapons of mass destruction. Since then, the list has expanded to include activities sanctioned by the State Department and activities that threaten U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.
- Wi-Fi 6: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft Surface Book 3: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Hiring Kit: Application Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)
- The 10 best smartphones you can buy right now (ZDNet)
- Smart phones and mobile tech: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)