Apple leaps to top of smartphone market thanks to iPhone sales

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The California giant captured 20.8% of the market to take the top spot for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2016.
The California giant captured 20.8% of the market to take the top spot for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2016.
Apple Inc. / AFP
  • Strong sales of iPhone 12 models lifted Apple to the top of the global smartphone market.
  • The California giant captured 20.8% of the market to take the top spot for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2016.
  • For the full year, the market suffered a hefty 12.5% drop as sales dipped to 1.3 billion units, the survey showed.


Strong sales of iPhone 12 models lifted Apple to the top of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter, a survey showed on Monday.

The report by market tracker Gartner showed Apple sold some 79.9 million iPhones in the final three months of the year - a 15% surge from a year earlier - to leapfrog Samsung in sales in a global smartphone market which shrank by some 5.4%.

The California giant captured 20.8% of the market to take the top spot for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Gartner.

Samsung saw an 11.8% dip in sales to 62.1 million units in the period, giving the South Korean company 16.2% of the global market.

The overall market was hurt by global consumer caution, with the declines limited by the introduction of new 5G handsets, Gartner analysts said.

"The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimized the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020," said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner.

"Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter."

China-based Xiaomi and Oppo held the third and fourth places with 11.3 and 8.9%, respectively.

Huawei, the Chinese firm hammered by sanctions limiting its access to US technology, fell to fifth place with 8.9%, according to the survey.

For the full year, the market suffered a hefty 12.5% drop as sales dipped to 1.3 billion units, the survey showed. Samsung remained the top seller for the year with an 18.8% share, ahead of Apple's 14.8%.

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