Global smartphone shipments grew in double digits in Q1 2021 and this trend may continue in the second quarter as well. According to Digitimes Research, the global market could reach 650 million smartphone shipments in the first half of the year.
A similar number of smartphone units will likely ship in the second half as well, taking the shipment volume for the full year to around 1.32 billion. That would mark a 6.4 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase in smartphone shipments globally. However, that figure isn’t quite on the level with 2019 shipments.
We all know 2020 wasn’t the best of years for the smartphone industry, or everyone in the world, for that matter. The financial uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic caused people to spend cautiously. As a result, the global smartphone market saw an unprecedented decline. So a 6.4 percent YoY growth over 2020 shipments isn’t very significant.
Smartphone shipments were expected to grow in double digits throughout the year in 2021. However, the ongoing global semiconductor chip shortage has affected sales.
Samsung to top smartphone shipment chart for the first half of 2021
As expected, Samsung will hold onto its crown as the biggest smartphone in the first half of 2021. Apple, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo will make up the top five, possibly in that order. This leaderboard is unlikely to see any changes in the second half as well. Huawei, who had topped this chart about a year ago, has tumbled down the order due to the US sanctions.
The report doesn’t break down the market share of each vendor. However, it claims all five brands will register strong growths in shipment in the first half of the year. Xiaomi is reportedly seeing the biggest YoY growth rate. The Chinese brand, which has benefitted from compatriot Huawei’s demise, could almost double its shipments from the same period last year.
By the looks of it, Xiaomi could emerge as the biggest threat to Samsung and Apple in a couple of years. Huawei had succeeded in surpassing the two giants who have consistently featured in the top two for several years now. It now remains to be seen whether they can fend off the fast-growing Chinese brand.
5G, foldable smartphones on the rise
The latest report also reveals that 5G connectivity is slowly becoming the standard in smartphones. According to the report, global 5G smartphone shipments could cross 500 million units in 2021. That would mark a whopping 70-80 percent increase from last year. Apple, all of whose recent iPhones come with 5G connectivity, could top this segment.
The niche market of foldable smartphones may also register a steady growth throughout the year to reach around 20 million shipments globally. Samsung, which has a huge headstart over its rivals in this segment, will remain untouched at the top. However, with other brands like Google, Xiaomi, and Vivo, all expected to launch a foldable smartphone this year, the Korean behemoth could lose some of its market share to the new devices.
According to the report, Samsung’s market share in the foldable segment will slip below 40 percent this year. A lot could depend on how the company prices its upcoming two foldables though – Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3. Recent reports suggest the new phones could be a lot cheaper than their predecessors. We will know for sure when Samsung officially announces the devices.