19+ Smartphone Sales Statistics to See Who Calls the Shots
Updated · May 20, 2023
Let us take a wild guess:
You are reading this article on your smartphone, correct?
Well, even if you’re not, chances are your smartphone is in your pocket or at least nearby.
While in 2016 one could’ve accurately said that half the world owned a smartphone, that figure is apparently much bigger now—almost 85% of the entire population.
What does this mean?
That the industry is generating billions, that brands are desperately competing for you to choose one of their smartphones, and that we have all the nitty-gritty of this competition right here, in this collection of smartphone sales statistics.
Read along to find out all the latest.
Fascinating Facts About the Smartphone Industry (Editor’s Choice)
- The global value of all smartphone sales amounts to a staggering $409 billion.
- Recently, the industry has been selling around 1.5 billion smartphones each year.
- A 7% year-over-year decline and a 12% quarter-over-quarter decline were 2021’s results for the global smartphone industry.
- China remains the leader in smartphone shipments with a 22.5% share of the global market.
- With 272 million sold units in 2021 alone, Samsung’s market share comes at 19%.
- Apple’s smartphones hold 15%-17% of the worldwide market.
- A 65% YoY growth made realme the fastest growing brand in 2020.
Global Smartphone Sales: By Year, by Region, And by Age Group
We all know that the industry is huge. But how big exactly?
There are millions of customers and even more smartphones shipped. Can you fathom how much revenue that is?
1. Worldwide smartphone sales amounted to $409 billion in 2021.
This is hardly surprising, given that people in China alone purchased $152.3 billion worth of smartphones.
Those in Western Europe?
$56 billion. That’s half of global sales right there!
What about North America?
$84 billion—which, again, is hardly surprising, given that 85% of the US’ population are smartphone users.
Fun fact: With a 22.5% share of the global market in Q1 2022, China is the leader in mobile phone sales.
2. In 2021, companies shipped 1.43 billion smartphones across the globe.
This “billion and a half” trend began in 2015, when smartphone sales worldwide hit 1.42 billion units. In 2018—the year when most smartphones were sold—that figure reached 1.55 billion.
The reason for the 120 million decrease in shipments from 2018 to 2021 is most likely the pandemic, as 2020 saw only 1.35 billion shipped units—the lowest amount recorded since 2015.
Fun fact: In 2021, 1.6 billion robocalls were made every week, with the average scam call reaping $502. It’s no wonder robocall blockers are becoming increasingly popular.
3. The global market showed a 7% YoY decline in the beginning of 2022.
Phone sales in 2022 started off slow. The total shipments for Q1 2022 were 328 million, which is significantly less than the 354.9 million in Q1 2021 and the 371.4 million in Q4 2021.
In other words, the overall year-over-year change was a negative 7%, whereas the quarter-over-quarter decline was 12%.
Some of the reasons: Supply shortages of materials, a COVID revival of sorts, and, of course, the ongoing war in Europe.
4. People who are 18-49 years old really like smartphones.
(Source: Blogging Wizard)
If we had to narrow down smartphones’ target market, this would be a good bet. After all, at least 95% of people in that age group (in the US) own a smartphone.
Now, surprisingly, even if 78% of boomers are on Facebook, only 61% of senior citizens own a smartphone.
As for gender demographics, there is no significant difference—85% of both men and women own one of these devices.
5. The region with the highest smartphone adoption rate is North America (82%).
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that North America adopts technology the fastest. After all, the second most technologically developed country—the United States—is a part of said continent.
Projections suggest that by 2025, the adoption rate in the region will be 85%.
On the other side of the spectrum, the geographical area with the lowest adoption rate is Sub-Saharan Africa. As of 2021, only 64% of the people in that region had a smartphone, and projections suggest only 75% of them will have one by 2025.
6. The iPhone 12 is the world’s best seller.
Accounting for 2.9% of the total smartphone shipments, the iPhone 12 is the most selling phone in the world as of 2021.
Apple managed to hog seven spots of the top 10 list—more than that, the top five most popular smartphones are iPhones. Only two other brands made the top 10 list: The Samsung Galaxy A12 took 6th place while Xiaomi’s models Redmi 9A and Redmi 9 came 7th and 10th, respectively.
Fun fact: The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the best-selling smartphone in the US, accounting for 13% of the country’s total shipments.
Samsung Smartphone Sales Statistics
After its debut in June 2009, the Samsung Galaxy—the first smartphone that the South-Korean company launched—quickly opened the doors to an endless range of opportunities for both the firm and the industry as a whole.
Now, Samsung finds itself as the leader on the charts more often than not.
See for yourself how well the company is doing in 2022.
7. Samsung’s market share grew by 21% from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022.
In Q4 2021, the company held 19% of the market; just a quarter later, the figure increased to 23%. This signifies a 21% increase quarter-over-quarter.
Although the company experienced a 3% YoY decline in shipments, its success in the first months of the year still earned Samsung the number one place on the list of the largest cell phone companies in 2022 (so far).
8. In 2021, Samsung sold 272 million smartphones.
Samsung might have lost to Apple in the last quarter of 2021 (19% vs 22% of the market share, respectively), but the total annual shipments make Samsung the year’s leader.
Samsung’s sales in Q1 2022 surpassed 74 million smartphones, making it the most successful quarter for the company in recent history—as well as the most successful company that quarter. Other big names, such as Apple and Xiaomi, only sold 59 million and 39 million units, respectively.
9. Samsung’s smartphone revenue is $72 billion.
Going from $64 billion in 2020 to $72 billion in 2021, Samsung recorded an 11% YoY revenue increase.
This could partly be due to the fact that the company shipped three times more foldable devices in 2021 than in the previous year. Not to mention that the average selling price (ASP) grew by 5%, reaching $263, which also contributed to the boost in Samsung’s revenue.
Fun fact: Samsung started experimenting with foldable tech in 2013—and it seems that its bet paid off. In 2021, the company launched two new foldable devices Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Z Flip 3.
iPhone Sales Statistics
Two years before Samsung made its debut in the smartphone scene, Apple launched its first iPhone. A combination of iPod and a breakthrough internet communicator, the first of Apple’s smartphones set the precedent for success back in 2007.
Let’s take a look at how the company is doing now.
10. In 2021, Apple’s shipments peaked at 237.9 million units.
Let’s recap: Apple is the mastermind behind the best-selling smartphone in the world (the iPhone 12), the best-selling smartphone in the US (the iPhone 12 Pro Max), and other worldwide phenomena like the Apple TV, the Apple Watch, and the AirPods.
Plus, Apple just launched its iPhone 13 series in 2021. So, it’s easy to see why iPhone sales surpassed 230 million units, marking 2021 as the year when Apple shipped the highest number of smartphones.
In fact, the last quarter of the year was decisive to this milestone—it registered 81.5 million shipments, which is almost double Q3’s 48 million.
11. Apple generated $191.9 billion selling smartphones in 2021.
(Source: Business of Apps)
Estimates of the company’s value suggest it is worth more than $2 trillion, ranking it among the most valuable technology enterprises in the world.
As of 2021, the company’s total revenue was $365 billion. Which means the revenue from iPhones accounted for 52% of the total ($190 billion), representing a 35% increase year over year.
Fun fact: The iPhone 13 series was behind the 12% increase in the global smartphone ASP, which is hardly a shock, given that the iPhones’ ASP grew by 14%, reaching $825.
Xiaomi Smartphone Sales Statistics
With its headquarters in Beijing, the Chinese company released its first smartphone (the Xiaomi Mi 1) in 2011.
By 2014, Xiaomi was already the largest smartphone company in China.
Now, it’s well-known for selling affordable Android devices, which have won over the hearts of millions of consumers.
12. In 2021, Xiaomi generated approximately $36 billion from smartphones.
Back in 2020, Xiaomi’s revenue was $24 billion, but it managed a 49% YoY increase. In 2021, the company shipped 190.4 million units, which is 44.6 million units more than in 2020 and 65.7 million more than in 2019.
One of the main reasons behind the revenue increase might be India. The country registered a 39% increase in the sales of smartphones priced $250+.
13. Xiaomi comes third in the global market share ranking.
Xiaomi’s market share has ranged between 8% and 14% in the last couple of years. As of Q1 2022, it’s about 12%.
In recent years, Xiaomi has fallen steadily behind Apple and Samsung in terms of market share—well, somewhat steadily. There have been a couple of instances when Xiaomi surpassed Apple, namely in Q3 2020 (13% vs 11%) and in Q2 2021 (16% vs 15%).
Nokia Smartphone Sales Statistics
Increasing competition and a saturated market put the Finnish company in the background for the last decade. But is there a chance for a Nokia comeback?
Maybe. Accelerating market growth in Europe might help Nokia and return it to front ranking positions.
Let’s check out some statistics in the meantime.
14. In 2021, Nokia shipped 10.9 million smartphones.
Back in 2020, Nokia shipped eight million units, which is almost three million less than the number of shipments in 2021.
Nokia’s sales in the last quarter of 2021 peaked and reached 3.2 million units, which represents a 17% increase from Q3 2021 and a 35% increase from Q4 2020.
However, Nokia’s total phone shipments in 2021 were actually 53.2 million. That’s right: Nokia is still selling feature phones—specifically, 42.3 million of them.
Fun fact: 11% of adults in the US own a cellphone but not a smartphone. Probably because smartphones have proven to be quite addictive.
15. Nokia is the 5th most popular smartphone brand in Europe.
(Source: Nokia Power User)
As of mid 2021, Nokia’s market share was 3% (in Europe, that is), earning the company the fifth spot as one of the top smartphone brands on the continent. In the Nordic countries, it did even better—it’s the fourth most popular brand there.
So, will Nokia continue to gain popularity?
In Europe, probably yes. We don’t have enough Nokia smartphone sales stats to make a prediction for the other regions yet.
Huawei Smartphone Sales Statistics
This Chinese telecommunications company used to be among the best-selling and largest brands. Throughout 2018, it remained at second place in terms of market share—it was Samsung’s closest rival at the time.
However, despite its steady growth not-too-long ago, Huawei seems to continue losing value, as revenue consistently drops.
Let’s see how the latest events impacted the business environment, which—according to Ken Hu, Huawei’s current chairman—will be “complicated and challenging.”
16. With a 6.18% market share, Huawei falls further away from the top three competitors.
Just in April 2021, Huawei’s market share was 9.19%. In April 2022, it decreased to 6.18%, registering a 33% decline.
Now, instead of competing with top brands like Xiaomi (which had a 10.43% market share back in April 2021), it’s struggling to stay on top of brands like OPPO and Vivo, whose shares of the market fall at around 5% each.
17. The US ban reduced Huawei’s sales by 81.6%.
(Source: Phone Arena)
If you didn’t keep up with the Huawei-US drama, we’ve got you covered.
Due to suspicions of spying, the Trump administration essentially prohibited Huawei from accessing the US supply chain. This means that Huawei couldn’t access any Google apps or receive US-exported semiconductors (including its own Kirin 9000 5G).
Obviously, the results were devastating. The company’s sales in 2020 amounted to 188.5 million units. In 2021, though, the annual shipments were only 35 million, thus recording a 81.6% decline.
As a result, the company fell out of the top five sellers in China for the first time in seven years.
Some More Smartphone Sales Stats
We’ve already covered the top competitors in the global market, but there are a few more brands that are making a valiant effort to get to the top.
Let’s go over a couple statistics about those.
18. OPPO generated $37 billion in smartphone sales in 2021.
OPPO, yet another Chinese electronics company, introduced its first smartphone in 2011. Although the brand isn’t too popular in the Western world, it’s quite well-liked in China and India.
That said, OPPO’s market share hasn’t seen significant fluctuations, staying within the 9%-11% range. As of Q1 2022, it’s leaning towards the lower end of the spectrum. In terms of actual units sold, this translates to 30.9 million OPPO smartphones shipped that quarter.
Fun fact: OPPO sold 143.6 million units in 2021. 5G-enabled smartphones made up 50% of that figure.
19. Vivo enjoyed a 43% YoY revenue growth.
Entering the smartphone market in 2012, Vivo is—you guessed it—a Chinese electronics company that has been growing recently.
In 2020, Vivo generated about $25.2 billion in revenue. A year later, that number had reached $34 billion, earning Vivo the title of the 5th largest smartphone brand in the world.
Alas, Vivo’s market share remains within the 8%-10% range. Lately, though, it’s leaning towards 8%.
On the bright side, though, the company’s market share demonstrates consistency, which suggests steady performance.
20. realme shipped nearly 65 million units in 2021.
Lastly, let’s go over some realme sales statistics—but first, some context: Sky Li, a former vice-president of OPPO, founded realme on May 4, 2018.
Its 5G technology and cool features earned realme quite a few popularity points. As a matter of fact, realme is the fastest growing 5G smartphone brand, boasting a 165% increase in this segment in Q4 2021 and becoming the biggest 5G brand in the UK, Italy, Spain, France, and Switzerland.
In general terms, though, realme’s sales are more than doubling every year. The total shipments for 2019 were 25.7 million; for 2020, 42.4 million (which represents a 65% YoY increase); and for 2021, 64.6 million.
Maybe we’ll see it top the charts some day.
Although the smartphone market seems to decline in the beginning of 2022, this doesn’t mean that the largest smartphone vendors will stop growing and innovating.
The industry is constantly changing. Just like a brand can be at the top today, it can fall out of the list tomorrow (Huawei is a prime example of that). And vice versa—a company can emerge out of nowhere and become the fastest growing brand, like realme.
We at Web Tribunal will follow the latest events and market fluctuations and turn them into thrilling smartphone sales statistics just for you.
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