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Apple Reclaims Second Spot in Global Smartphone Sales as Samsung Maintains Lead

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Apple reclaimed its spot as the second-best selling phone manufacturer in 2020, a report from Counterpoint and Canalys has revealed. The tech giant overtook Huawei to reclaim its position, while Samsung maintained the lead.

Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo took the next three spots, the Counterpoint report showed.

The Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on phone sales in 2020 largely due to the lockdowns and travel restrictions worldwide. In the second quarter, Huawei beat Samsung to become the top seller after recording  55.8 million device shipments compared to Samsung’s 53.7 million units. This was attributed to the fact that China emerged from the pandemic first.

Read: Samsung Beats Huawei to Lead in Global Smartphone Sales in August

By August however, Samsung had reclaimed the top spot with Huawei taking second place. Apple maintained third place, with the delay of the launch of iPhone 12 seen as a contributing factor.

Huawei was further hit by the US sanctions resulting in a drop in its sales. According to Counterpoint, Huawei dropped out of the top five entirely in the fourth quarter of 2020.This was the first time for the company to lose a spot in the top five in six years, Canalys noted.

In the latest report however, Huawei has maintained third spot, after Samsung and Apple, largely due to high domestic sales in China.

Read also: Huawei Overtakes Samsung To Become Top Global Smartphone Vendor

Xiaomi was able to expand internationally, and contributed to 17 percent of the phone sales in 2020. As for brands, Realme grew fastest accounting for 65 percent more in shipments compared to 2019.

Although Apple shipped the highest number of iPhones ever in the fourth quarter, its gains were modest, only increasing by about 3 or 5 percent year over year. The company this week released its 2020 earnings call which surpassed $100 billion (Kshs.11 trillion) for the first time ever.

The reports further indicate that although Samsung had maintained top spot, the company was losing market share. Both Counterpoint and Canalys said that Samsung’s smartphone shipments fell 14 percent from 2019. The company still has about 50 million phone shipments ahead of Apple, but this gap seems to be getting narrower.

Read also: Xiaomi Overtakes Apple to Take Third Spot in Global Smartphone Sales

The tech giant is reportedly facing stiff competition from Apple in the high end phone category and Chinese manufacturers in the mid-range categories.

Overall, Canalys and Counterpoint indicate that phone shipments were down seven and 10 percent respectively compared to 2019. The drop is largely attributed to the pandemic which disrupted the normal flow of business.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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