IDC shows smartphone bump in Q4 2020 with Apple, Samsung on top

IDC has issued its report on the smartphone market's performance in the final quarter of 2020, and it probably won't surprise many to learn that the market was able to finish the year strong. According to the analytics organization, smartphone sales rebounded a bit in the final quarter of the year, showing 4.3% year-over-year growth and ending what was otherwise a down year – smartphone sales were down 5.9% in 2020 as a whole over 2019 – on a high note.IDC also named the top 5 vendors in the final quarter, and that analysis doesn't hold too many surprises either. That doesn't mean the shifts we're seeing aren't dramatic, with Apple claiming the top spot in Q42020 with 90.1 million device shipments. That was enough for it to take 23.4% market share in the quarter, with shipments rising 22.2% year-over-year.

Samsung grabbed the second-place spot with 73.9 million shipments in the quarter, 19.1% market share, and a 6.2% climb in shipments year-over-year. Outside of the top two spots, the list has shifted dramatically, as Xiaomi and OPPO seeing a rise in shipments and market share as a result of a big tumble on Huawei's part. While Xiaomi and OPPO saw shipment volumes of 43.3 million and 33.8 million during the quarter, respectively, Huawei only saw 32.3 million – a year-over-year decline of 42.4%.

As far as the year as a whole is concerned, Samsung managed to place ahead of Apple and take the top spot, with 266.7 million device shipments compared to Apple's 206.1 million. Despite finishing first and enjoying 20.6% market share for 2020 as a whole, that still represents a year-over-year drop of 9.8%, which does a lot to express how the smartphone market was squeezed during the pandemic with manufacturing shutting down and consumers holding onto their money.

Huawei, despite its troubles with US regulators, managed to finish the year in third place overall, with 189 million shipments and 14.6% global market share according to IDC's data. Still, shipments took a sharp drop for Huawei during the calendar year, dropping 21.5% overall. Xiaomi, as you might expect, finished the year fourth, with vivo in fifth place.

So, IDC's data shows that while the smartphone market didn't have a great year overall, there were signs of it rebounding in the final quarter of the year. Of course, at least some of that rebound can be chalked up to holidays, but it could also indicate that consumers are getting ready to buy smartphones again. We'll see what happens in the first quarter of 2021, so stay tuned for more.