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Apple beats Samsung – becomes largest smartphone maker

We already knew Apple has had a remarkably good 2020 despite facing plenty of difficulties. The global pandemic meant a lot of people started working from home, which translated to a significant uptick in Mac and iPad sales.

But even the iPhone finished the year on top, with 80 million units sold in the fourth quarter of the year. Those numbers make Apple the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, overtaking Samsung for the first time in five years.

For comparison, that’s 10 million more than the same period in 2019, when it was just a hair behind Samsung’s sales figures. But a decline for the smartphone industry on the whole, combined with Apple’s later-than-usual release of the iPhone 12 Pro, means it comes out comfortably on top for Q4 2020 with 80 million units sold to Samsung’s 62 million.

Xiaomi is the only other major manufacturer to show significant growth last year. Though Android smartphones still dominate overall, Apple’s market share sits just over 20% for that period, which is certainly not to be scoffed at.

It’s thought that iPhone sales were inflated last year thanks to a “super-cycle” that saw Apple’s first 5G-enabled devices launched alongside the relatively budget-friendly iPhone 12 mini. We also saw the first significant design changes to the iPhone casing for several years.

The question is: with this year’s iPhone 13 unlikely to mix up the design any further, can Apple keep up this momentum?

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