There’s no doubt 2020 took a heavy toll on the smartphone industry, but it seems nobody notified Apple about that ordeal, a new IDC report suggests.

Does Apple have a non-zero chance to retain this lead in Q1 2021?

The analytics firm estimates the global smartphone market shrunk 5.9% year-over-year, dropping by about 80 million device shipments to 1.29 billion. At the same time, Apple moved 15 million smartphones more than in 2019, shipping 206 million units in total. That’s a 7.9% improvement largely fueled by the iPhone 12 which allowed Apple to easily overtake Samsung in Q4 shipment volumes, as the figures attached herein illustrate. In the meantime, Samsung’s mobile businesses declined at a much faster rate, losing out on around 29 million product sales, or 9.8% annually. Note that for the purposes of IDC’s report, the term “shipments” is used interchangeably with branded sales. Meaning it doesn’t denote the actual, physical movement of inventory between manufacturers and their distribution chains.

It goes without saying that Apple’s fourth-quarter lead is all but guaranteed to dissipate during the opening three months of 2021. Primarily because the Cupertino-based tech giant isn’t putting out any high-margin smartphones in the coming weeks. Whereas Samsung will be kicking off this year’s flagship race in under 24 hours, seeing how the Galaxy S21 series is scheduled to go on sale tomorrow – both in the U.S. and abroad.

Source: IDC.com