Apple beats Samsung in smartphone sales for first time in five years

For the first ime since 2016, Apple sits at the top of the worldwide smartphone sales chart thanks to a very strong fourth quarter 2020 sales period with the four new iPhone 12 models.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

While the latest Gartner smartphone sales report shows that worldwide smartphone sales declined 5% in the fourth quarter of 2020, Apple secured the top spot for the first time since 2016.

We've seen Samsung and Huawei battling it out for this top spot for a few years, but after the fall 2020 release of the four new iPhone 12 models, Apple passed them both up with 20.8% of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter. Huawei continues to drop down the list, with Xiaomi securing the third spot and OPPO the fourth spot.

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Given Apple's annual release schedule, the fourth quarter is where we see the biggest impact from Apple. Looking at the full year of 2020 data shows Samsung in the top spot with 18.8% and Apple in a close second at 14.8%. Samsung showed a decline in sales in 2020. while Apple was one of the few, along with Xiaomi, that showed growth over the entire year.

As we look ahead to 2021, Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, stated: "The availability of lower end 5G smartphones and innovative features will be deciding factors for end-users to upgrade their existing smartphones."

While I'm sure we can count on another solid fourth quarter from Apple, it will be interesting to see what happens in the Android space.

Also: iPhone 12 Pro Max: Apple's best phone gets better the more you use it

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