Samsung and Apple Take Lead in 1.35 Billion Smartphones Shipped in 2021

Although Xiaomi had the highest annual growth reaching almost 30%, Samsung had the lowest, just 6.0% growth in 2021.

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International Data Corporation (IDC) has revealed that smartphone shipments dropped year over year during the last quarter of 2021. This marked the second straight quarter of decline.

While the second half of 2021 was challenging, full-year shipments actually grew following a strong H1.

Specifically, smartphone makers shipped a total of 362.4 million phones during Q4 2021. This was a drop of 3.2 percent YoY.


On a yearly basis, the market grew 5.7 percent in 2021, with 1.35 billion smartphones shipped.

Despite a small YoY decline in shipments, Apple had an impressive holiday quarter, once again jumping above Samsung into the top spot.

Its strength in supply chain was on display more than ever in 4Q21. iPhone 13 units were an impressive portion of volumes in the holiday quarter driving strong growth in overall iPhone average selling prices.

Samsung and Xiaomi followed with the second and third spots and it’s worth noting these were the only vendors out of the top 5 that grew shipments year over year in Q4 2021.

OPPO and vivo rounded out the top 5.

For the full year, all five vendors grew shipments year over year with four out of five achieving double-digit growth.

Although Xiaomi had the highest annual growth reaching almost 30%, Samsung had the lowest, just 6.0% growth in 2021.

This contrast clearly illustrates which vendor benefitted the most from the massive decline of Huawei this year.


Apple too had healthy annual growth of 15.9% in 2021 for reasons already mentioned as well as due to the superb 40% growth in China in 2021.

The charts below summarize the trends. [Source: IDC]

Top 5 Companies, Worldwide Smartphone Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q4 2021 (Preliminary results, shipments in millions of units)
Top 5 Companies, Worldwide Smartphone Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Calendar Year 2021 (Preliminary results, shipments in millions of units)

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]