Apple has returned to the number one position in the global smartphone market after a year on the back of strong demand for iPhone 13 particularly in China, shows Q4 2021 data released by Canalys, a market researcher. iPhones accounted for 22% of the smartphones shipped in the quarter, while Samsung, which has now slipped to the second spot, accounted for 20% of the shipments.
The other three brands in the top five in Q4 2021 as per the Canalys report were Xiaomi (12%), Oppo (9%) and Vivo (8%).
According to Canalys, Apple saw unprecedented demand for iPhones in mainland China due to the aggressive pricing strategy. Huawei’s decline in China has also helped as it was a major supplier of premium devices there.
Though India is still a smaller market as compared to the US and China, according to Canalys, Apple has seen a 100% year-on-year (YoY) growth in India. “Apple has done well in India in the last four to five quarters. India has primarily been the market for older generation iPhones. This time around we have seen strong demand for iPhone 13 in India,” said Sanyam Chaurasia, a Canalys analyst.
Chaurasia said the entry barrier for iPhone buyers in India is a lot lower now as compared to what it was in 2019. Anyone can buy an iPhone for Rs 45 to 50k now. That has led to a lot of pent-up demand from people entering the iPhone ecosystem.
“Also, iPhone 13 came at a much lower retail price with more storage, which has created a good price point proposition for customers in India and contributed to Apple’s growth in the Indian market,” he added.
According to Counterpoint Research, 2021 was the best year for Apple in India as it shipped somewhere around 5.4 to 6 million iPhones in the entire calendar year, reported ET. Apple iPhones now account for 70% of the market share in the super-premium (above Rs 45,000) segment, as compared to 50% a year ago.
Though Apple was forced to cut production of iPhones in Q4 due to shortages of key components, it managed to maintain adequate delivery times in priority markets, customers in some markets and to wait for new iPhones, stated Canalys.
Apple had overtaken Samsung last year too in Q4 2020 after the launch of the iPhone 12, but the lead didn’t last long as Samsung returned to the number one position in Q1 2021, as per Canalys. Though as per Canalys, Samsung held the number one position until Q4 2021, according to Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi overtook Samsung to become the number one brand globally in Q2 2021.
This indicates how thin the gap is between the top three smartphone brands and it won’t be surprising to see Samsung and Xiaomi overtake Apple once again after the launch of Galaxy S22 next month.