Samsung Galaxy S20

Smartphone production slumped 11% in 2020, with Samsung leading and Huawei lagging behind

2020 has proven to be difficult for smartphone makers, with production falling 11% from the previous year. Samsung takes the lead with 263 million units manufactured, followed by Apple with 199 million units. Second in the rankings last year, Huawei drops to third place, a result that does not bode well for the brand in 2021.

Samsung galaxy s20
Samsung Galaxy S20 / Credits: Unsplash

Large groups have not escaped the consequences of the exceptional situation of 2020. On the one hand, the pandemic has had repercussions on smartphone sales, as shown by Samsung, which has sold less than 300 million phones, a first since 2011. According to analysis firm Trendforce, production has also been impacted with 1.25 million devices manufactured, either a record decrease of 11% compared to 2019.

On the podium, we find in the order Samsung (263 million), Apple (199 million) and Huawei. Xiaomi and Oppo round out the top 5. The major change is arguably Huawei’s downgrade to 3rd place in the ranking, after rising to 2nd place in 2019. Its production has indeed gone from 240 million units to 170 million in the space of a year, i.e. a difference of 30%. At issue: the COVID-19 pandemic of course, but also and above all the American embargo which prevented it from supplying itself with components.

Read also: 90% of the best-selling smartphones at Christmas 2020 are iPhones

2021 doesn’t bode well for Huawei

Huawei is catching up in the 5G smartphone segment, where it wins the 2nd place with 30% market share, behind Apple (31%) and ahead of Samsung (11%). 5G will also be the key element for 2021, according to Trendforce, which estimates that 37% of devices products during the year will be compatible. Apple has for its part already taken the lead with the iPhone 12 number 1 in sales in this sector in October 2020.

Analysts expect smartphone sales to explode in 2021, which could help jumpstart production. Trendforce estimates a total of 1.36 billion units in circulation at the end of the year, i.e. an increase of 9% compared to 2020. The research firm, on the other hand, plans a black year for huawei, which could fall to 7th place among the productive manufacturers, with only 3% of market share.

Source: Trendforce