Samsung A12

Samsung snaps up most-shipped smartphone slot for 2021

Image credit: Samsung

Samsung's Galaxy A12 topped the list of 10 most-shipped smartphones in 2021, overtaking Apple, according to technology research firm Omdia’s 4Q21 smartphone model market tracker.

Apple, which has fewer handset models than its competitors, had consistently ranked first and second in previous quarters.

Since Samsung's Galaxy A12 was first released in the fourth quarter of 2020, quarterly shipments from 2021 have consistently exceeded 10 million units, according to Omdia, despite occasional production shortages due to the Covid-19 pandemic in India and Vietnam.

On an annual basis, the Galaxy A12 recorded a total of 51.8 million units in 2021. This is Samsung's first model to have exceeded 50 million in a year with a single model and ranked first in terms of shipments among more than 1,000 smartphone models shipped worldwide.

As competition with Chinese companies intensifies, Samsung has been strengthening its mid- and low-end lineup, integrating the low-end J series handsets with the A series since 2019. At the same time, Samsung has been steadily expanding the adoption of multi-cameras in its A series models and adding more features popular with consumers.

“Although the average selling price of Apple’s iPhones, which are included in the top 10, is five times higher than the Galaxy A12, it is the most efficient model from Samsung, shipping more than 50 million units per year as a single model,” said Jusy Hong, senior research manager at Omdia.

Apple took the next three places in the top ten of 2021, with the iPhone 12, 13 and 11 occupying second, third and fourth slots, shipping totals of 41.7, 34.9 and 33.6 million units respectively. These iPhone models are the regular versions of each iteration, as opposed to the more expensive Pro and Pro Max variants.

Apple’s latest handset, the iPhone 13, is the second cheapest model after iPhone 13 mini, starting at £779 for the 128GB option – the same price as the iPhone 12 64GB released the previous year. However, the overall average selling price of iPhone 13 handsets has risen compared to last year due to the release of a model with higher memory capacity. Despite the rise in selling price, iPhone 13 shipments recorded 34.9 million units – an increase of more than 100,000 units over iPhone 12's 23.3 million units.

The model in fifth place is Xiaomi's Redmi 9A. Xiaomi shipped a total of 26.8 million Redmi 9A units, with an average selling price of just $78 (£58) – one-tenth the cost of Apple's high-ranking iPhone models.

Apple's iPhones were back again in sixth to ninth place, with shipments of the Pro models increasing significantly. Although the average selling price of the Pro models easily nudge – and can often exceed – £1,000, shipments in 2021 surpassed 20 million units. Apple's total annual shipments last year recorded 234.5 million units, of which 39 per cent were models with an average selling price of more than $1,000 (approximately £747). This is the highest such percentage in Apple's history.

“Apple's dominance in the premium market is getting stronger, as consumers' demand for premium smartphones has increased as the pandemic situation has eased,” said Hong.

The last place in the top 10 is taken by Samsung's Galaxy A02. A total of 18.3 million units were shipped last year. It is the second cheapest model after the Xiaomi Redmi 9A in the top 10.

In the top 10, Apple included a total of seven models, Samsung two and Xiaomi one model. Compared to last year, Apple added two more models, while Samsung had two fewer models, with Xiaomi placing one model in the top 10 but also enjoying a significant rise from ninth place to fifth place.

Most shipped smartphone in 2021

Rank – Model Name – Company – Million Units – Average Selling Price

1. Galaxy A12 – Samsung – 51.8 – $160

2. iPhone 12 – Apple – 41.7 – $851

3. iPhone 13 – Apple – 34.9 – $962

4. iPhone 11 – Apple – 33.6 – $604

5. Redmi 9A – Xiaomi – 26.8 – $78

6. iPhone 12 Pro Max – Apple – 26.1 – $1,231

7. iPhone 13 Pro Max – Apple – 24.1 – $1,324

8. iPhone 12 Pro – Apple – 21.2 – $1,131

9. iPhone 13 Pro – Apple – 19.4 – $1,224

10. Galaxy A02 – Samsung – 18.3 – $138

Source: Omdia Smartphone Model Market Tracker 4Q21

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