The Smartphone Market Just Grew for the First Time in 5 Years

Industry experts widely consider 2017 to be the very peak of the smartphone market, since that was the year when the highest number of global shipments was noted. These shipments failed to grow in subsequent years, with the coronavirus pandemic further reducing its growth rate and making it so that tight economic conditions prevented a lot of consumers from buying new phones which is something that has resulted in a contraction of the market in general for the most part.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that 2021 was a year of growth for the smartphone market, the first such year that has been seen since 2017. Despite the fact that the fourth quarter of 2021 saw a 6% decline in smartphone shipments, on average 2021 a 4% year on year decrease over 2020 with around 1.39 billion units being shipped to various countries all around the world which is impressive when you consider the rather slow Christmas shopping season that the industry experienced.

However, there are a lot of reasons to think that 2022 might not be quite as profitable as 2021. For one thing, the final quarter decline is a sign of things to come, with supply chain disruptions already causing inflation and a lack of supply in many countries. Samsung was the biggest player in the industry in 2021, shipping over 271 million units, but Apple surpassed Samsung in the fourth quarter by selling 81 million units and that is a trend that might continue in 2022.

Apple also had its best year in terms of total units shipped, and Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo also had their best years ever which was partly helped out by LG’s exit from the market as well as Huawei having one of their worst years yet. Xiaomi saw 31% growth in global shipments, the best out of all companies and 13 points higher than Apple’s 18% growth rate which suggests that it along with other Chinese manufacturers could become dominant players in the coming years. Oppo and Vivo also saw stronger growth rates than Apple with 28% and 21% growth respectively.

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