Samsung stumbles to 4th in 5G smartphone market globally

On a day when one report had Samsung Electronics as the world's biggest smartphone manufacturer, another market analysis report said that Samsung has slipped from its leading position in the global 5G smartphone market. 

The Korean electronics major is now ranked fourth in the first quarter of the year. Its principal rivals Apple and Chinese makers Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi expanded their presence with new devices.

In fact, Samsung's slide in the 5G market seems precipitous. Its share in the 5G smartphone market stood at 12.7% in the January-March period, down from 34.6% a year ago.

Bumper show from Apple on 5G handset front

According to market researcher Strategy Analytics, Samsung shipped 17 million 5G smartphones in the first three months of 2021, up 105% from a year earlier. Yet, it did not help it to stay at the top as its adversaries in the market outperformed the company in the fast-growing 5G handset market.

In all, global 5G smartphone shipments jumped 458% on-year to 133.9 million units in the first quarter.

"Huge demand in China, a strong push from Apple iPhone, and a wave of value priced Android models fueled a record quarter for 5G smartphone shipments," Strategy Analytics said.

Apple shipped a record 40.4 million 5G iPhones worldwide in Q1 2021, building on its strong performance of 52 million shipments globally in Q4 2020. Apple iPhone is decidedly the clear 5G leader with a 30% 5G smartphone market share globally in the quarter. 

Apple iPhone 12 5G is proving wildly popular across China, Europe and the United States, due to its sleek hardware design and surprisingly competitive pricing.

The global 5g handset market share in Q1 2021

The global 5g handset market share in  Q1 2021. (Image credit: Strategy Analytics)

Brands from China too do well

Chinese brands also saw a good spike in their growth as they ate into Huawei's share in the 5G smartphone market, coupled with China's rapid adoption of 5G technology.

Strategy Analytics data showed that Oppo's market share more than doubled from 7.1% to 16.1% to claim the runner-up spot in the first quarter. Its 5G smartphone shipments reached 21.5 million units, skyrocketing from 1.7 million units a year ago.

Vivo came in third with a market share of 14.5% after shipping 19.4 million smartphones, up 646% from a year earlier.

Xiaomi was the No. 5 player with a 12.4% share as its 5G smartphone shipments zoomed 564% on-year to 16.6 million units in the first quarter.

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