After two quarters of growth, global sales of smartphones fell by 6.8% in the third quarter of 20201. The negative impact of the shortage of components was already noticeable in the previous quarter.

The upturn did not last long in the global smartphone market. In the third quarter of 2021, the number of terminals sold stood at 342.3 million units, falling 6.8% year on year, according to Gartner. The year had started well for manufacturers in the sector. Their sales had increased by 26% in the first quarter of 2021 and by 10.8% in the following three months. Enough to nurture the hope of a solid recovery over a long period, after a dark 2020 (-12.5%), a gloomy 2019 (-1%) and a sluggish 2018 (+ 1.2%) ).

The premium smartphone segment remains on the rise

As in other markets, it is the shortage of components that has ended up having the better of the dynamics of that of smartphones. It led to a disruption in production schedules, which in turn lowered inventory levels and ultimately pushed back the availability of products through distribution channels. A disaster, therefore, while the demand was there. To mitigate the effects of the lack of components on their turnover, suppliers have favored the production of high-end models. Which explains why quarterly sales of premium smartphones increased, despite the context.

Apple posts 19% growth and takes second place

Samsung is the only major smartphone maker to have seen its sales drop (-14.6%) in the third quarter of 2021. However, its shipments of high-end smartphones have grown, led by the latest versions of its foldable terminals. Korean remains the world number one in the sector, with a 20.2% market share (-1.9 point). Its dolphin Apple, he did better than get out of the game. It shows deliveries up 19.3% and a market share of 14.2% (+3.1 points). The American benefited from its premium positioning, functional upgrades and an installed base of customers still poorly equipped in 5G. All in all, he regained second place in the ranking of Gartner suppliers, which the Chinese Xiaomi had taken from him in the second quarter of 2021. The latter suffered its first (very slight) drop in sales, after four consecutive quarters of growth. Its market share nevertheless gained almost a point to 13%.

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