Apple leads a Q4 2021 smartphone market share snapshot

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Despite a pandemic and a global chip shortage, smartphone shipments actually grew by 1% worldwide, according to Canalys. [Remember them? We used to quote them heavily when exploring Symbian and Windows Phone market share back in the day!] There's little change year on year in terms of manufacturer, either, though it's worth noting that Q4 is Apple's biggest phone quarter - it hasn't been on top all year, every year.

From Canalys:

Apple accounted for 22% of worldwide smartphone shipments in Q4 2021, thanks to strong demand for the iPhone 13. But overall shipments for the quarter grew just 1%, as vendors faced supply chain problems and a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. Samsung took second place, down from the top spot in Q3 2021, with a market share of 20%. Xiaomi maintained its third-place position with a 12% share. OPPO and vivo completed the top five with 9% and 8% shares respectively.

“Apple is back at the top of the smartphone market after three quarters, driven by a stellar performance from the iPhone 13,” said Canalys Analyst Sanyam Chaurasia. “Apple saw unprecedented iPhone performance in Mainland China, with aggressive pricing for its flagship devices keeping the value proposition strong. Apple’s supply chain is starting to recover, but it was still forced to cut production in Q4 amid shortages of key components and could not make enough iPhones to meet demand. In prioritized markets, it maintained adequate delivery times, but in some markets its customers had to wait to get their hands on the latest iPhones.”

Worldwide smartphone shipments and growth
Canalys Preliminary Smartphone Market Pulse: Q4 2021


Q4 2020 market share

Q4 2021 market share
















(See the original Canalys story for the small print, though do note that OnePlus is included in the OPPO shipments)

To be on top of the market share table, worldwide, with largely premium-priced handsets, is somewhat remarkable. A few years ago, Samsung, with its huge range of smartphones, from budget to top end, ruled this table, but the way it has largely messed up the flagship end of things ever since the S20 range was launched (ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, taking out the audio jack, a telephoto which isn't a telephoto, I could go on...) has clearly taken the shine off Samsung's lustre, though it's still in a very solid second place.

Apple, meanwhile, despite the chip shortage affecting availability of its iPhone 13 range, has maintained its Q4 supremacy. And again I'll emphasise, this isn't just the USA, where the network economics mean that phone price hardly matters, this is worldwide, across all networks and regions. Impressive.

Overall, the Chinese manufacturers have just over half the world marketshare, mind you, with Xiaomi leading the way, thanks to some amazingly competitive low-to-mid range offerings in all regions other than the USA.


Source / Credit: Canalys