Apple ranked first in terms of smartphone production volume for the fourth quarter of 2020, the latest analysis by a market research firm TrendForce shows. Overall, the global smartphone production is estimated to grow 25 percent year-on-year (YoY) in the first quarter of 2021 but decline six percent compared to the previous quarter (Q4 2020). The analysis states Apple produced 77.6 million iPhone units in Q4 2020 and overtook Samsung that produced the most smartphones in Q3 2020. However, Samsung is expected to take back the crown in Q1 2021 and stay on top for the entire year.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, global sales for high-end smartphone models declined in 2020 but Apple still managed to capture the largest market share in terms of production volume. Compared to Q3 2020, the analysis by TrendForce shows Apple produced 77.6 million units of iPhones in Q4 2020, marking an 85 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) increase. This put the Cupertino-based company in the lead ahead of Samsung that could manage 67 million units in the last quarter of 2020. This marked a 14 percent decline compared to Q3 2020.
TrendForce states that the new iPhone 12 series that accounted for about 90 percent of the iPhone production in Q4 2020 gave stiff competition to Samsung, causing it to lose its lead. Apple led Q4 2020 with 21.3 percent market share when it comes to total production volume, Samsung captured 18.4 percent, Oppo had 13.7 percent, Xiaomi had 12.9 percent, Huawei had 9.5 percent, and Vivo came in last with 8.7 percent. Interestingly, with its quarterly production volume of 34.5 million smartphone units in Q4 2020, Huawei managed to diminish the impact of sanctions put in place by the Department of Commerce. Though, its production for Q4 2020 was down 21 percent compared to Q3 2020.
The production numbers and high sales of the iPhone 12 models indicate there was a growth in the market and the TrendForce production estimates give an idea of the demand, and proportionally the sales of the devices.
Coming to estimates for the first quarter of 2021, the firm states smartphone production is expected to reach 342 million units which would be a 25 percent YoY increase. Compared to Q3 2020, it would be a drop of six percent that is quite low compared to the trend of 20 percent decline coming to Q1 from Q4 of a previous year. Estimates show that Apple may produce 54 million iPhone units in Q1 2021 out of which 80 percent would be iPhone 12 models.
Samsung, on the other hand, is expected to stay on top for 2021 and will likely produce around 62 million units in the first quarter of this year. Overall, for 2021, TrendForce estimates the total smartphone production volume to reach 1.36 billion units, seeing a nine percent YoY increase.