Global smartphone sales grow 26% in March quarter; Samsung returns to top spot

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NEW DELHI: Worldwide smartphone sales grew by 26% in the first quarter of 2021 after a 5% drop in the last quarter of 2020, according to a report by Gartner.

“The improvement in consumer outlook, sustained learning and working from home, along with pent-up demand from 2020 boosted sales of smartphones in the first quarter,” said Anshul Gupta, Senior Research Director at Gartner. “Consumers started spending on discretionary items as the pandemic situation improved in many parts of the world and markets opened up,” he added.

However, the industry’s pandemic-driven woes may not be over just yet. The research firm also noted that the global chip shortage may affect smartphone sales in the coming quarter, with possible changes in the average selling price (ASPs) of mobile phones worldwide. The global chip shortage is set to continue for the next few quarters and is expected to affect the electronics industry as a whole.

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According to Intel chief executive, Pat Gelsinger, the chip shortage might continue for the next two years. “While the industry has taken steps to address near-term constraints, it could still take a couple of years for the ecosystem to address shortages in foundry capacity, substrates, and components,” Gelsinger said at Computex 2021 last month.

Further, while the demand for Apple’s iPhone remained high, the company lost the top spot to Samsung. According to Gartner, the South Korean smartphone maker returned to the top spot on the back of mid-priced (under $150) 5G smartphones.

However, Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, noted that 5G will also continue to be a driver for Apple in 2021. “Device upgrades will fuel demand for Apple’s flagship phone throughout the year,” said Gupta.

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