Compared to last year’s situation, most of the world is much better now, which means that many markets are also seeing signs of improvement. The smartphone industry, in particular, is seeing good numbers at least in terms of shipments in the first quarter, as they were up 24% year-on-year. Samsung and Apple are still No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, but Chinese brands are hot on their heels. One Chinese OEM that is not catching up is Huawei as it falls out of the top 5.
The latest Strategy Analytics report show that smartphone shipments increased 24% year-on-year in this first quarter of 2021 and, in fact, this is the most growth we have seen since 2015. This is likely due to the continuation of working from home and remote education in many from countries, so there is still a high demand for smartphones and other mobile devices. Even though Samsung and Apple are still the top two brands, Chinese OEMs are the ones that performed well this time.
Samsung was able to ship 77 million smartphones and saw 32% year-on-year growth, while Apple shipped 57 million and had an even better growth of 44% year-on-year. Xiaomi is in third place and despite getting only 15% market share with its 49 million phones shipped, it was an 80% growth, with strong performance in India and China and expansion to other regions such as Africa, Europe and Latin America. Oppo and Vivo were 4th and 5th respectively.
Huawei is conspicuously absent from the Top 5 and has been relegated to the “others” of the table. The other brands had a combined total of 107 million, but were down -23% year-on-year. The top five brands had a 76% market share in this first quarter, up from 71% at the same time last year. Chip shortages and supply issues didn’t seem to affect these brands for at least this first quarter.
But Linda Sui, senior director of strategy analysis, says that smaller vendors will be hit by these issues in the coming quarters. Let’s see how drastic the effect will be and if even the biggest brands will eventually suffer.