Global smartphone shipments fell 8.8% in 2020

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2020 finally closed its doors and research companies started to publish their reports about the whole year. It certainly was one of the most problematic years for smartphone makers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Digitimes Research has just compiled a report on global smartphone shipments for the past year. According to that, the market dropped by about 8.8% with a total of 1.24 billion units shipped. The largest dip was in the first quarter of 2020 when the companies were surprised by the fast escalation of the pandemic and the disruption in manufacture and sales. During Q1 the shipments were down by 20% on a yearly basis.

Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, once again were the three leading smartphone makers in 2020. The ranking continues with Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo. However, only Apple and Xiaomi experienced an increase in shipments of over 10%. Samsung and Huawei, on the other hand, faced double-digit drops. If there is something that can make the last year remarkable, certainly was the expansion of 5G. According to a report, the year brought an estimated 280 – 300 million 5G smartphones shipments. This is a massive increase in comparison to the 20 million units shipped in 2019.

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The reason certainly is the arrival of many 5G mid-range chipsets that allowed companies to bring 5G phones with affordable price tags. This will grow even further in 2021 as cheaper 5G SoCs are emerging.


With the arrival of many vaccines that have the potential to give back our lives, companies are hoping for a better 2021. Just two weeks after the beginning of the year, some analysts started to predict how the market will look like in 2021. According to a report from TrendForce, smartphone production will reach a whopping 1.36 billion units this year. It will represent a year-on-year increase of 9. The agency also predicts that the total global 5G smartphone production in 2021 will be about 500 million. Moreover, the 5G penetration rate will rapidly increase to 37%.

Looking at the current situation, TrendForce estates that the top-level global seats in 2021 will be Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Transsion, and Huawei. The top six will cover nearly 80 percent of the global market. Of course, this is just an estimate, after all, we still have a pandemic to win. Curiously, we can see that TrendForce expects a major decline in Huawei smartphone shipments. The Chinese firm lost access to its Kirin-based chips and will need to rely on third-party chipmakers.

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