Samsung has taken back the global smartphone producer’s crown from Apple.
The Korean tech giant accounted for a fifth of overall global sales in the first quarter of this year, according to market research firm Canalys, with Apple claiming a 15% market share.
China's Xiaomi Corp clocked its best quarterly performance ever, with shipments surging 62% to 49 million phones and market share to 14%, taking it to third after Samsung and Apple.
Overall, global sales surged 27% to 347 million units in the first quarter as the Chinese economy opened up after the pandemic and a swift vaccine rollout in the United States raised hopes of an economic recovery.
South Korea's Samsung shipped 76.5 million smartphones in the quarter to grab a 22% share of the market, Canalys said. The company reported a 66% surge in quarterly profit in its mobile business on Thursday, thanks to strong sales of its flagship Galaxy S21 smartphone series.
Canalys said Apple shipped 52.4 million iPhones in the January-March period, falling to the second spot with a 15% marketshare, despite it winning Chinese shoppers in the December quarter with its new 5G-enabled iPhone 12.
People upgrading to the new iPhone still drove sales, though, and the company said on Wednesday that overall sales to China nearly doubled.
Last year, people shopped for smartphones and gadgets as they stayed indoors because of the coronavirus pandemic, fuelling a global shortage in semiconductor chips that has hit several industries including car-makers and white goods producers.
Apple said on Wednesday that the chip shortage could cost the company $3 billion to $4 billion in revenue in the April-June quarter, mostly affecting iPads and Macbooks.
March-quarter smartphone shipments for China's Oppo and Vivo brands also surged, Canalys said.
China's Huawei, the former No1 but held back by US sanctions, took seventh place with 18.6 million units after selling its Honor brand last year.
- Reporting by Reuters