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Global smartphone shipment increased for the first time since 2017: Counterpoint

The new iPhone 13s are displayed at an Apple store on January 27, 2022 in Corte Madera, California.

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The global smartphone market grew for the first time in four years, but the total number of devices shipped last year remained below pre-pandemic levels, according to a report by market research firm Counterpart. Research.

Annual smartphone shipments rose 4% year-on-year to 1.39 billion handsets in 2021, even as the Covid pandemic and a global component shortage hampered supplies.

Counterpoint data showed that in 2017, smartphone makers shipped 1.56 billion units and that figure then declined every year from 2018 to 2020.

Pent-up demand in places like North America, Latin America and India contributed to overall market growth last year, according to Harmeet Singh Walia, principal analyst at Counterpoint Research.

“Growth in the United States was largely driven by demand for Apple’s first 5G-enabled iPhone 12 series that seeped through the first quarter of 2021,” Walia said in a statement. This demand continued throughout the year as the October-December quarter ended on a high due to holiday promotions and Black Friday sales, he added.

India has seen higher device replacement rates, better availability as well as more attractive financing options for mid to high-end phones, Singh Walia said.

Counterpoint Research said this week that smartphone sales in China fell 2% year-on-year for several reasons, including global shortages of semiconductors and components that have hampered smartphone makers’ ability to ship their devices.

“The market recovery could have been even better had it not been for the component shortages that impacted much of the second half of 2021. The big brands handled component shortages relatively better and therefore managed to grow by gaining market shares of long-tail brands,” Singh told Walia.

How did the best smartphone manufacturers do it?

Samsung retained the pole position as the world’s largest smartphone maker by shipment volume despite its Vietnamese factories have been on Covid lockdown for some time.

The South Korean company shipped around 271 million devices in 2021, representing a 6% year-on-year growth as demand for its mid-range phones surged.

Samsung said this week that it expects demand for smartphones and tablets in the current quarter to decline compared to the October-December period due to weak seasonality and uncertainties over the supply of mobile phones. components. But the company said it plans to boost sales of its flagship Galaxy S series devices and roll out competitive, mainstream 5G handsets.

Counterpoint noted that some of Samsung’s growth was limited by growing competition in markets like India and Latin America.

Apple, which saw record market share in China last quarter, saw its global smartphone shipments rise 18% year-on-year to 237.9 million units due to the strong performance of the iPhone 12 series. Its shipment volume increased in key markets like the United States, China, Europe and India.

“In China, it became the No. 1 smartphone brand in Q4 after six years with iPhone 13, overtaking Samsung as the No. 1 smartphone worldwide in Q4 2021,” Counterpoint Research said in its report.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi saw global shipments rise 31% year-on-year to 190 million devices. Although its shipment volume is significantly lower than that of Samsung and Apple, Xiaomi has grown in recent years to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker.

In fact, it is now the top smartphone brand in India after dethroning Samsung in 2018.

Oppo and Vivo also saw double-digit growth last year, shipping 143.2 million and 131.3 million devices respectively.

Counterpoint Research said in its report that there is reason to be optimistic about the smartphone industry’s growth prospects in 2022 if the world gets the pandemic under control and supply chain shortages are resolved. here the middle of the year.

Some analysts and investors, however, expect the global chip shortage to last until the end of this year or until 2023.