A survey on Monday showed that strong sales of iPhone 12 models pushed Apple to the top of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter.
The report by market tracker Gartner showed that Apple sold about 79.9 million iPhones in the last three months of the year – an increase of 15% from the previous year – outpacing Samsung’s sales in the global smartphone market, which shrank by about 5.4%.
The California giant acquired 20.8% of the market, topping the lead for the first time since the last quarter of 2016, according to Gartner.
Samsung saw an 11.8% drop in sales to 62.1 million units in the period, giving the South Korean company 16.2% of the global market.
Gartner analysts said the market in general was battered by the caution of global consumers, as the declines were limited to the introduction of new 5G phones.
“Sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-level smartphones reduced the market downturn in the fourth quarter of 2020,” said Anchol Gupta, chief research director at Gartner.
“Although consumers have remained cautious in their spending and stopped some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features have encouraged some end-users to buy new smartphones or upgrade their existing smartphones in this quarter.”
Xiaomi and China-based Oppo ranked third and fourth with 11.3% and 8.9%, respectively.
Chinese company Huawei, which has imposed sanctions limiting its access to US technology, slipped to fifth place by 8.9%, according to the survey.
The survey showed that throughout the year the market suffered a significant decline of 12.5% as sales fell to 1.3 billion units.
Samsung remained the best seller of the year with an 18.8% share, ahead of Apple with 14.8%.