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Apple takes Q4 global smartphone shipment crown, but Samsung wins 2021

Apple Iphone Ipad Availability Beijing Iphone 13 Pro Close Up
Apple Iphone Ipad Availability Beijing Iphone 13 Pro Close Up (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • New research indicates Apple had a very good quarter for smartphone shipments in Q4.
  • IDC says that Apple shipped some 85 million smartphones.
  • However, Samsung shipped a total of 272 million devices across the whole year.

New research from IDC says that Apple and the iPhone 13 secured the number one spot for global smartphone shipments in Q4 of 2021, as the market declined slightly year over year.

In a release this week IDC states vendors shipped some 362.4 million phones in Q4 of 2021, down about 3.2% on the same quarter in 2020 but better than predicted. With the release of the iPhone 13, Apple's best iPhone to date, IDC says that Apple jumped ahead of Samsung into the top spot:

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.

According to figures, Apple shipped some 84.9 million iPhones to give it a 23.4% market share. Those fortunes are significantly better than Apple's overall yearly performance, which saw it fall to second behind main rival Samsung, which shipped 272 million phones and took 20.1% of the overall market compared to Apple's 235.7 million (17.4%).

Apple may look to hit back in 2022 not only with the iPhone 14 but also with a new rumored iPhone SE that will feature 5G and debut in the Spring, giving Apple a new contender against many cheaper Android offerings that it lacked in 2021.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.