Top Six Smartphone Brands to Account for 85% of Global Market in 2021

Smaller screens and 5G will be the next smartphone battleground
Smaller screens and 5G will be the next smartphone battleground -

Due to the impact of the pandemic, global smartphone production plummeted significantly in 2020. According to the research data analyzed and published by Comprar Acciones, there was an 11% decline, sending total output to 1.25 billion units during the year.

In 2021, the market is expected to embark on a gradual recovery process. TrendForce projects a 9% increase in production worldwide, to 1.36 billion units.

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During the year, the top six brands will be Samsung, Apple, OPPO, Xiaomi, Transsion and Vivo. These six will account for over 85% of the global smartphone market.

Top 6 Global Smartphone Brands by Production Volume in 2021

Top Six Smartphone Brands to Account for 85% of Global Market in 2021 brandspurng
Source: TrendForce

As a result of the sanctions in the US market, Huawei will fall from the third spot to the seventh in 2021 in terms of production capacity. The spin-off of Honor as an independent brand during the year is expected to further hamper Huawei’s performance.

In 2020, global 5G smartphone production amounted to around 240 million units, representing a penetration rate of 19%. Chinese brands accounted for a market share of close to 60% in this space during the year.

The penetration rate is expected to rise significantly in 2021 to a rate of approximately 37%. Annual production will more than double to 500 million units.

Huawei Shipments Tanked By 22% in 2020 to 188.5 Million Units

Samsung is expected to take the lead globally, producing a total of 267 million units according to TrendForce. That will be a minimal increase from its estimated 263 million units in 2020.

Apple is projected to come in second with a production capacity of 229 million units. Compared to the 199 million posted in 2020, it will be a considerable increase. Notably, though, Apple is forecast to have the biggest share of the 5G market, at 35%, compared to Samsung’s 15%.

Xiaomi will be third in terms of production, with 198 million units and Oppo fourth with 185 million. In fifth place, Vivo will produce 145 million units, while Transsion will produce 60 million, landing the sixth spot. Huawei will be seventh with 45 million.

Huawei will also see a significant drop in its 5G market share, from 30% in 2020 to 8% in 2021. In spite of its woes, Huawei managed to retain the third spot in terms of global shipments in 2020.

According to data published by Canalys, Huawei shipped a total of 188.5 million units during the year, down by 22% year-over-year (YoY). Its market share in terms of total shipments dropped from 18% to 15%.  In Q4 2020, the brand ranked sixth in global shipments, with 32 million units. It was the first time in six years that it had fallen out of the top five.

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Global Smartphone Shipments to Rise by 11% in 2021 to 1.5 Billion Units

For the worldwide smartphone market, there was a 2% annual decline in shipments in Q4 and 7% for the full year 2020.

Q4 2020 saw Apple beat Samsung to become the top smartphone seller worldwide. Apple’s shipments rose by 4% YoY in the period to reach 81.8 million units. Its market share similarly increased, going from 21% to 23%, nearly a quarter of the global pie.

Samsung followed at a distance, selling a total of 62 million units, down by 12% YoY. Its market share dropped from 19% to 17%, equivalent to Apple’s gain.

For the full year, Samsung retained the top spot with 255.6 million unit shipments, down by 14% YoY. Apple, on the other hand, posted an annual increase of 5%, shipping 207.1 million units. It reduced the market share gap, accounting for 16% of total shipments (up from 14%), compared to Samsung’s 20% (down from 22%).

Xiaomi was the only other brand in the top five to post annual growth, soaring by a remarkable 19% with 149.6 million units shipped. Its market share increased from 9% to 12%, securing its position in fourth place behind Huawei. Oppo was fifth on the list, shipping 115.1 million units, down by 4% YoY. Its market share remained flat at 9%.

In total, 1.26 billion smartphones were sold during the year, down from 1.37 billion in 2019. According to Gartner, smartphone sales will grow by 11.4% in 2021 to reach 1.5 billion units. Availability of lower-end 5G devices among other factors will drive the potential increase.

From the total, 5G smartphones will account for a 35% share. 5G smartphone sales, which totaled a paltry 16.71 million in 2019, rose to 213.26 million in 2020. The number is expected to more than double to 538.53 million in 2021.

Adoption will be particularly aggressive in China, where the 5G smartphone market share will reach 59.5% in 2021.