iPhone shipments hit a record 85.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021

Iphone 13 Review Hero
Iphone 13 Review Hero (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • The iPhone 13 drove global phone shipments last year.
  • Apple also shipped a record 85.5 units in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The iPhone 13 was the "primary growth driver" for global phone sales in the fourth quarter of 2021.

In a new report from analytics firm TrendForce, global smartphone shipments increased 9.5% quarter over quarter to over 356 million units last year. The report says that Apple's iPhone 13 lineup was "the primary growth driver" of the global smartphone market, shipping a record 85.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2021.

After unveiling the iPhone 13 series in September, Apple started aggressively ramping up the shipments of these new devices to meet market demand. Owing to its fast-paced sales and marketing rhythms, Apple has been able to take first place in the quarterly ranking of smartphone brands by production market hare for many fourth quarters, and 4Q21 was no exception. Besides maintaining its top position in the fourth-quarter brand ranking, Apple raised its quarterly iPhone production to a new record high of 85.5 million units, a 66.0% QoQ increase. In the aspect of pricing strategy, the prices of the new iPhone 13 models were reasonable for consumers, while the price reductions for the older iPhone models were noticeable as well.

iPhone 13 Pro Apple Leather Case Hero

iPhone 13 Pro Apple Leather Case Hero (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

According to the data, it appears that Apple's performance in China and its capture of market share from Huawei attributed to its record performance last year and last quarter.

Moreover, the capturing of the market share left by Huawei can be considered as the main factor behind Apple's stellar performance in 4Q21. Over time, the orders for Huawei's flagship models (i.e., the P and Mate series) have been gradually replaced by iPhone orders. In terms of annual production, Apple reached 233 million units for 2021, up from almost 200 million units for 2020. The growth was mainly attributed to an expansion of Apple's market share in China from 10% to 16%.

While we'll need to wait until the fall to see the next round of flagship iPhone models, Apple is rumored to be hosting a virtual event in March where it is anticipated to announce a new generation of the iPhone SE.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.