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 Roundup: iPhone 12
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

69Mustang Avatar
23 months 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
23 months 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
23 months 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
23 months 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
23 months ago
I’m sure we’ve had a thread like this already.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
szw-mapple fan Avatar
23 months 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)

Related Stories

iPhone trade in

Apple Lowers Value of Android Smartphones for iPhone Trade-In

Wednesday January 19, 2022 1:27 am PST by
Apple today reduced the estimated maximum dollar amounts that customers can receive when trading in several different Android smartphones for an iPhone. Apple also adjusted trade-in values for certain iPad and Mac models. On its website, Apple displays the highest possible amount a customer can get when trading in a specific device for an Apple product, such as an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple ...
oppo find x5

Oppo Plans to Challenge Apple Globally, Starting With 'Find X5' Premium Smartphone

Thursday February 24, 2022 4:57 am PST by
After Xiaomi pledged to aggressively challenge Apple earlier this month, Chinese smartphone brand Oppo is also now planning to directly compete with Apple on a global scale with a wave of premium devices, starting with the newly announced Find X5 (via South China Morning Post). Oppo is currently the world's fourth-biggest smartphone vendor, but following its merger with OnePlus, the company...
iphone 13 and iphone 13 pro max

iPhone 13 Lineup Led Global Smartphone Revenues to Record High in 2021

Friday February 25, 2022 6:41 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 lineup led global smartphone revenues to a new high of $448 billion in 2021, Counterpoint reports. Smartphone revenues grew seven percent year-on-year and 12 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2021, despite difficulties caused by component shortages. Apple's iPhone revenue is believed to have increased 35 percent year-on-year to $196 billion in 2021, its...
iPhone 13 Feature Candy Corn

iPhone Was the Most Popular Smartphone in Q4 2021

Tuesday January 18, 2022 5:50 am PST by
iPhones accounted for around one-fifth of all smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2021, allowing Apple to reclaim first place as the biggest smartphone vendor, according to a report from Canalys. Canalys estimates that the iPhone accounted for 22 percent of worldwide smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2021. The scale of Apple's shipments is thanks to strong demand for...
apple lineup except the ipad is sad

Apple Reports All-Time Quarterly Revenue Records for iPhone, Mac, Wearables, and Services

Thursday January 27, 2022 1:50 pm PST by
Apple today reported its earnings results for the fourth quarter of 2021, which corresponds with the first quarter of the 2022 fiscal year. Overall, Apple reported revenue of $123.9 billion, which is an all-time quarterly record for the company. On a category-by-category basis, Apple also set all-time quarterly revenue records for the iPhone, Mac, Wearables, and Services:iPhone: $71.6...
OLED iPad Pro and MacBook Pro

Apple Likely to Use Samsung's Tandem OLED Displays for Future iPads and Macs

Thursday March 3, 2022 3:43 am PST by
Samsung has begun developing more advanced OLED panels that should meet Apple's requirements for use in future iPads and Macs, according to a new report from The Elec. Previous reports have suggested Apple intends to release an iPad with an OLED display provided by Samsung in 2024, but Apple is seeking OLED panels for larger displays that have a "two-stack tandem structure," which have two...
iPadOS Widgets

Apple Shipped More Tablets Than Samsung and Amazon Did Combined Last Quarter

Friday July 30, 2021 9:55 am PDT by
While the iPad has long been the world's most popular tablet, newly published market research helps put Apple's lead into perspective. According to estimates shared by research firm IDC, Apple shipped 12.9 million iPads in the second quarter of 2021. By comparison, IDC estimated that Samsung and Amazon shipped a combined 12.3 million tablets in the quarter, suggesting that Apple shipped more...
xiaomi lei jun

Xiaomi Pledges 'War of Life and Death' Against Apple to Become World's Biggest Smartphone Brand

Friday February 11, 2022 4:35 am PST by
Xiaomi intends to step up its challenge to Apple, the company's founder announced this week (via South China Morning Post). Xiaomi founder and chief executive Lei Jun said on Chinese social media platform Weibo that the company will specifically focus on the high-end segment of the global smartphone market in an effort to directly rival Apple, attempting to fill the void left by Huawei....

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Can't Get an iPhone 14 Pro? Here's Why You Should Wait for the iPhone 15 Ultra

Monday December 5, 2022 11:44 am PST by
Due to production issues at Apple supplier factories in China, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are backordered and basically out of stock at every store. If you were planning to gift or receive an iPhone 14 Pro model for the holidays and didn't already get one, you're basically out of luck because they're gone until late December. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more ...
iPhone Measure Height

Newer iPhones Allow You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly — Here's How

Saturday December 3, 2022 10:23 am PST by
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models feature a LiDAR Scanner next to the rear camera that can be used to measure a person's height instantly in Apple's preinstalled Measure app. To measure a person's height, simply open the Measure app, point your iPhone at the person you want to measure, and make sure they are visible on the screen from...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Launching This Month With These 8 New Features

Thursday December 1, 2022 8:44 am PST by
Apple plans to publicly release iOS 16.2 for the iPhone in mid-December, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The update remains in beta testing for now, with at least eight new features and changes already uncovered so far. iOS 16.2 introduces a number of new features, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications, the ability to hide...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

Major RAM Upgrade Coming to Next-Generation MacBook Pro

Friday December 2, 2022 2:03 am PST by
The next-generation MacBook Pro models could feature faster RAM, according to a recent report from a reliable source. MacRumors Forums member "Amethyst," who accurately revealed details about the Mac Studio and Studio Display before those products were announced, recently provided information about Apple's upcoming 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The new machines are expected to feature...
iOS 16

When Will iOS 16.2 Be Released?

Friday December 2, 2022 2:13 pm PST by
Apple in late October began testing iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, providing betas to both developers and public beta testers. As of now, we've had four total betas, with the fourth beta having been released earlier this week. iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 are expected before the end of the year, and we thought we'd try to narrow down the launch timeline. With only four betas released since...
apple ar headset concept 1

Kuo: Apple Headset Shipments Potentially Delayed Until Second Half of 2023

Sunday December 4, 2022 7:38 am PST by
Mass shipments of Apple's long-rumored AR/VR headset may be delayed until the second half of 2023 due to unspecified "software-related issues," according to the latest information shared today by tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple headset render by Ian Zelbo Kuo said mass shipments of components for the headset are still likely to begin in the first half of 2023, but he believes that mass...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 5 Exclusive Features

Saturday December 3, 2022 10:55 am PST by
While we're still around nine months away from Apple unveiling the iPhone 15 lineup, rumors already suggest that the higher-end Pro models will have even more exclusive features than usual compared to the standard models next year. There are currently at least five features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17 Bionic...
nothing phone 2

Nothing Plans to Launch Smartphone in US to Take on Apple's iPhone

Monday December 5, 2022 12:38 am PST by
UK-based tech company Nothing plans to launch a smartphone in the US to directly compete with Apple's iPhone, according to a new report out today. In an interview with CNBC, Nothing CEO Carl Pei said the startup is in "early conversations" with American cellular carriers about launching a new phone in the US, but he stopped short of naming any of the carriers or the phone model. Nothing...
introducing apple music sing

Apple Music Adding a Karaoke Experience With Apple Music Sing

Tuesday December 6, 2022 7:09 am PST by
Apple today announced Apple Music Sing, a new feature in Apple Music that lets users sing their favorite songs with adjustable vocals and more. Apple Music Sing will utilize Apple Music's real-time lyrics to allow users to sing to their favorite songs using adjustable vocals, background vocals, and duet view to allow more than one singer.Apple Music Sing includes: Adjustable vocals: Users...