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Research: China 5G adoption drives smartphone demand

April 30, 2021

According to research from Strategy Analytics, China’s rapid adoption of 5G technology is powering demand for 5G smartphones. Apple and the domestic trio of OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi benefitted most as the demand exploded. OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi closed on Apple capturing 16 per cent, 14 per cent and 12 per cent global market share in the quarter, respectively.

“Global 5G smartphone shipments soared 458 per cent YoY from 24.0 million units in Q1 2020 to a record 133.9 million in Q1 2021,” advises Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics. “Huge demand in China, a strong push from Apple iPhone, and a wave of value priced Android models fuelled a record quarter for 5G smartphone shipments.”

“We estimate Apple shipped a record 40.4 million 5G iPhones worldwide in Q1 2021, building on its strong performance of 52 million shipments globally in Q4 2020,” adds Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics. “Apple iPhone is the clear 5G leader with a 30 per cent 5G smartphone market share globally in the quarter. Apple iPhone 12 5G is proving wildly popular across China, Europe and the United States, due to its sleek hardware design and surprisingly competitive pricing.”

“We estimate OPPO captured 16 per cent global 5G smartphone market share in Q1 2021, more than doubling its share from 7 per cent in Q1 2020,” notes Yiwen Wu, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “OPPO has leapt ahead of domestic competitors Vivo and Xiaomi, taking advantage of Huawei’s collapse in 5G smartphones to capture share. OPPO’s A55 5G and Reno 5 5G have become hugely popular in China. We estimate that Vivo increased its global 5G smartphone share in Q1 2021, up 646 per cent YoY on volumes of 19.4 million, taking 3rd place in global 5G smartphone shipments for the quarter.”

“We estimate that Samsung shipped 17.0 million 5G smartphones globally in Q1 2021, up from 8.3 million in Q1 2020,” reports Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics. Samsung holds a 13 per cent market share in 5G smartphone shipments globally in Q1 2021, down from 35 per cent in Q1 2020. The surge in 5G volumes in China, allied with the Apple factor inevitably had a negative impact on share despite impressive product diversity from Samsung in 5G. Xiaomi rounded out the top-5 global 5G smartphone vendors on volumes of 16.6 million 5G smartphones shipped, up from 2.5 million in Q1 2020. Xiaomi captured a 12 per cent share of the global 5G smartphone market in Q1 2021.”


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