One year after the abrupt coronavirus lockdowns that put the smartphone industry to a near halt, the market has bounced back in the first quarter of 2021, but while most companies grew their sales, one of the biggest phone makers has dropped out of the top 5.
Yes, we are talking about Huawei, which is nowhere to be seen on the elite top five list. The Chinese company was placed on the US Government Entity List in May 2019, blocking its access to Google apps and US made components. And while Huawei was able to maintain momentum in about the first year after the ban, Q1 2021 is when it has now dropped out of the biggest phone makers list.
latest industry report by researchers from Strategy Analytics. Xiaomi has quickly expanded to Europe, Latin America and Africa, and keeps a strong presence in China and India.Another company from China, however, is quickly taking up its place: Xiaomi has been on a roll lately, growing at twice the rate compared to Apple and Samsung, and nearly doubling its sales to about 50 million phones. This has now officially placed it as the world's 3rd largest phone maker, according to the
Galaxy S21 lineup, as well as good initial sales of the new budget Galaxy A series launched at the end of the quarter. Apple, on the other hand, enjoyed strong sales of its iPhone 12 family.As for the very top of this list, it has remained more or less unchanged in the past few years: Samsung is the world's biggest phone maker with a comfortable advantage over Apple, which ranks second best. In Q1 2021, Samsung's success was driven by strong performance from the
*Data by Strategy Analytics, numbers are preliminary.
Interestingly, at number 4 and number 5 on the list are Oppo and Vivo, two companies that are practically unknown in the United States and Europe. Their meteoric rise seems driven by a big surge in demand for 5G phones in China and other Asian markets.
Things are definitely changing in the smartphone market: LG has recently dropped out, and the expansion of Chinese brands continues, so we'll be curious to see how that works out throughout 2021 and whether the advent of 5G will provide a sustained boost to the industry.