TrendForce: Apple Overtook Samsung to Become World's Largest Smartphone Maker in Fourth Quarter

Apple produced 77.6 million iPhones units in the fourth quarter of 2020, 69.8 million of which were iPhone 12 models, helping the company overtake Samsung to become the top global smartphone brand, according to TrendForce.

galaxy s21 iphone 12 pro max front feature2
The analysts' latest report says Apple sold 10 million more phones than its biggest rival over the quarter, with Samsung selling 67 million phones, a quarter-on-quarter decline of 14%. By contrast, Apple recorded an 85% increase QoQ, driven in part by Apple's support for 5G across its latest smartphone lineup and its adoption of an aggressive pricing strategy.

Even though the share of high-end models in global smartphone sales shrank in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple was able to push through the headwinds and capture market share by introducing 5G models and adopting an aggressive pricing strategy. Apple produced 77.6 million units of iPhones in 4Q20, an 85% increase QoQ, thereby overtaking Samsung and ranking first amongst all smartphone brands. It should also be pointed out that iPhone 12 devices accounted for about 90% of the iPhone production in 4Q20.

TrendForce foresees higher than expected sales for all manufacturers in the first quarter of this year. "Historically, smartphone production tends to experience a QoQ drop of around 20% for the first quarter as demand collapses from the peak-season level of the fourth quarter of the preceding year," say its analysts. "However, the performance of the first quarter of this year is expected to defy seasonality."

To that end, sales of ‌iPhone 12‌ devices are likely to remain strong in the first quarter of 2021, and total iPhone production are expected to reach 54 million units, with ‌iPhone 12‌ models again accounting for about 80% of this figure.

Despite Samsung losing ground on Apple in the last quarter, TrendForce expects Samsung to top the global smartphone production ranking for the whole of 2021, thanks to its new flagship Galaxy S21 lineup and the adoption of promotional pricing to boost sales of its latest high-end devices.

However, the analysts believe Samsung's ability to retain the leadership position will prove increasingly challenging as it continues to lose market share to Chinese brands like Oppo and Xiaomi, which have risen rapidly over the past few years thanks to devices that boast better price-performance ratio compared to Samsung's offerings.

Today's report lines up with the latest data gathered by Gartner, which found that Apple overtook Samsung to become the largest smartphone vendor worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2020, a feat not achieved by Apple since 2016.

Related Roundups: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

69Mustang Avatar
20 weeks ago

It has been postulated here that apple is not Samsung’s direct competitor, but other android manufacturers are. Seems like this is a truism.
That's really always been the case. A customer decides iOS or Android. If it's iOS then it's over. Regardless of the model decision, all the revenue flows into the same coffers. If it's Android then the competition actually begins. Rivals exist at the budget, mid tier, and high end categories. Rarely is Samsung the cheapest option in any of those categories.

Apple's competition is Apple.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
I7guy Avatar
20 weeks ago
It has been postulated here that apple is not Samsung’s direct competitor, but other android manufacturers are. Seems like this is a truism.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
20 weeks ago

Apple against everyone and apple won and will continue to win, the anti American Samsung fans just won't give up.
It is kind of funny, if they put their anger towards Samsung and not apple maybe they would get results, all these Samsung fans call out Tim Cook what about the ceo of Samsung, the guy has been napping for 3 years
The choice of a commodity electronic device is a factor in a person's patriotism? o_O Bruh...

/walks away slowly

/runs
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
20 weeks ago

And then in the first quarter when new Samsung Sxx comes out it'll be Samsung again as the newest iPhone model is old by then. But Q4 it'll be the other way around as the iPhone will be new and the flagship Samsung old.

rinse and repeat. Another 'news'
Care reading the article?


a feat not achieved by Apple since 2016.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shanghaichica Avatar
20 weeks ago
I’m sure we’ve had a thread like this already.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
szw-mapple fan Avatar
20 weeks ago

That's really always been the case. A customer decides iOS or Android. If it's iOS then it's over. Regardless of the model decision, all the revenue flows into the same coffers. If it's Android then the competition actually begins. Rivals exist at the budget, mid tier, and high end categories. Rarely is Samsung the cheapest option in any of those categories.

Apple's competition is Apple.
That's mostly true, but there are still a decent amount of customers who only rely on 3rd party apps or google services, which work very well on both iOS and Android. They have the freedom to select a high end Android or an iPhone. I personally know some people who have switched over back and forth depending on the price and hardware design over the years.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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