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Samsung Overtakes Apple in Smartphone Shipments as Xiaomi Closes In on iPhone Maker

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Samsung Electronics reclaimed its crown as the world’s biggest smartphone maker from Apple in the first quarter of this year, cornering a fifth of overall global shipments. China’s Xiaomi rounded out the top three positions with its best quarterly performance ever as shipments surged 62 percent to 49 million phones and its market share rose to 14 percent, market research firm Canalys said. Overall, global shipments surged 27% to 347 million units in the first quarter as the Chinese economy opened up after the pandemic and a swift vaccine rollout in the United States raised hopes of an economic recovery. South Korea’s Samsung shipped 76.5 million smartphones in the quarter to grab a 22% share of the market, Canalys said. The company on Thursday reported a 66% surge in quarterly profit in its mobiles business, thanks to robust sales of its flagship Galaxy S21 smartphone series.

Canalys said Apple shipped 52.4 million iPhones in the January-March period, falling to the second spot with a 15 percent share of the market. Apple still grabbed record market share in the United States, China, India, and Japan, Counterpoint analyst Varun Mishra said, adding that the iPhone Pro Max was a top seller in the United States. Smartphone sales have surged over the past year as people stayed and worked from home. But the shopping frenzy has fuelled a global shortage in semiconductor chips that has roiled industries including autos and large appliances.

“Supply of critical components, such as chipsets, has quickly become a major concern, and will hinder smartphone shipments in the coming quarters,” Canalys analyst Ben Stanton said. Apple said on Wednesday that the chip shortage could cost the company $3 billion to $4 billion in revenue in the April-June quarter, affecting primarily iPads and Macbooks.

March-quarter smartphone shipments for China’s Oppo and Vivo brands also surged, Canalys said. But Huawei, the former leader that remains shackled by US sanctions, took only seventh place after selling its Honor brand last year.

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