27 Jan 2022
Smartphone Shipments Declined in the Fourth Quarter But 2021 Was Still a Growth Year with a 5.7% Increase in Shipments, According to IDC
NEEDHAM, Mass., January 27, 2021 – Worldwide smartphone shipments declined year over year in the fourth quarter of 2021 (4Q21) marking the second straight quarter of negative growth. Despite a challenging second half of the year, full-year shipments still grew thanks to a strong first half. According to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 362.4 million phones during the holiday quarter (4Q21), which was down 3.2% year over year but slightly better than IDC's forecast. On an annual basis, the market grew 5.7% in 2021 with 1.35 billion smartphones shipped.
"There's no question the second half of 2021 failed to meet expectations with volumes declining 4.5% compared to the second half of 2020," said Ryan Reith, group vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "As we mentioned last quarter, the supply chain and component shortages started to have meaningful impact on the smartphone market as we entered the second half of the year, and this continues to be the case as we've now entered 2022. We expect to see supply and logistical challenges continue through the first half of this year, but we currently believe we'll return to growth in the second quarter and second half of 2022. There is no question that demand is still strong in many markets, and to some extent we are seeing increasing consumer interest in 5G and new form factors like foldables."
Despite a slight year-over-year 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 SKUs 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 4Q21. 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. While 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 fact that 2021 would have come in drastically higher if it were not for the supply constraints adds even more positivity to the healthy 5.7% growth we saw for 2021," said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. "To me it gives a message that there is significant pent-up demand in almost all regions. Even in China, where there are some challenges around weakening consumer demand, the market performed much better in the fourth quarter than expected, 5% better to be exact, albeit still a year-over-year decline. With channel inventory low in almost all regions and as supply constraints ease up towards the middle of the year, IDC expects this pent-up demand to drive the market toward healthy growth in 2022."
Top 5 Companies, Worldwide Smartphone Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q4 2021 (Preliminary results, shipments in millions of units)
4Q21 Shipment Volumes
4Q21 Market Share
4Q20 Shipment Volumes
4Q20 Market Share
Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, January 27, 2022
Top 5 Companies, Worldwide Smartphone Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Calendar Year 2021 (Preliminary results, shipments in millions of units)
2021 Shipment Volumes
2021 Market Share
2020 Shipment Volumes
2020 Market Share
Source: IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, January 27, 2022
- Data are preliminary and subject to change.
- Company shipments are branded device shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.
- The "Company" represents the current parent company (or holding company) for all brands owned and operated as a subsidiary.
- Figures represent new shipments only and exclude refurbished units.
About IDC Trackers
IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly Excel deliverables and on-line query tools.
For more information about IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or email@example.com.
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International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,200 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit www.idc.com. Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.
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