The mobile phone industry has not been affected by the shortage of chips, but prices may increase in the future

Zhitong Finance APP learned that Gartner’s data shows that global smartphone sales to end users experienced a sharp decline in 2020, increasing by 26% in the first quarter of 2021 and 22% year-on-year.

Anshul Gupta, senior research director of Gartner, said that consumer expectations, continued home work and study, and the release of pent-up demand all contributed to smartphone sales in the first quarter. With the improvement of the epidemic situation in many parts of the world and the opening of markets, consumers have begun to spend on non-essential goods. However, it cannot be ignored that the relative base in 2020 is lower than in 2019, which has contributed to double-digit growth.

Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi (01810) ranked the top three in the global smartphone sales rankings for the first quarter of 2021, and their ranking remained unchanged compared with the same period last year. Among them, as far as Samsung is concerned, the launch of mid-priced smartphones (phones priced below US$150) boosted its global sales; the early shipment of its flagship 5G smartphones promoted the growth of the company’s smartphone sales.

Table 1 Top 5 global smartphone sales in the first quarter of 21 (unit: thousand)

The mobile phone industry has not been affected by the shortage of chips, but prices may increase in the future

Data source: Gartner

In addition, after maintaining its top spot in the fourth quarter of 2020, Apple returned to the second position in the first quarter of 2021. The release of the first 5G iPhone in 2021 has brought continued demand to the company. Gupta pointed out that 5G will continue to be Apple’s main growth driver in 2021. Equipment upgrades will drive consumer demand for Apple’s flagship phones throughout the year.

Since 2020, the growth of the world’s top five smartphone suppliers has been very strong, which shows that the mobile phone market is consolidating around the top five suppliers. Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have experienced growth in demand for 5G smartphones and have seized the growth opportunities brought about by the weak global sales of Huawei and LG in the quarter.

The global chip shortage has not yet affected the smartphone industry because the balance of supply and demand has been met. However, this situation may change in the next few quarters and may lead to an increase in the average selling price of global smartphones.

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