Tech giant Apple has overtaken Samsung, becoming the world’s biggest smartphone maker after iPhone sales soared in the last quarter of 2020, new reports showed.
Apple (APPL) launched its new series of 5G smartphones in mid-October.
During the last three months of 2020, the company sold almost 80 million iPhones, which represents a 15% increase over the same period in 2019.
Gartner, which tracks sales to consumers, said the launch of the 5G iPhone 12 series propelled the manufacturer to the number one position in the fourth quarter.
Through a statement published on Monday, Gartner also explained that it was the first time since the fourth quarter of 2016 that Apple positioned as the world’s leading smartphone supplier.
Apple has also overtaken Samsung on fourth-quarter sales since 2017.
According to a Singapore-based analyst firm Canalys, the company also shipped its most iPhones ever to distributors in a single quarter, with 81.8 million devices at the end of last month.
Apple typically introduces its new iPhone models in September, making the last three months of the year the most profitable for the company.
Their plans were delayed last year due to supply chain disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite launching its 5G iPhone a month later and facing a shrinking market, it managed to achieve excellent sales numbers.
Last quarter milestones show the recovery of the company’s sales.
According to data from Gartner, rising unemployment and consumer spending cuts induced by the pandemic caused global smartphone sales to drop 5.4% in the fourth quarter.
Smartphone sales decreased 12.5% in 2020 compared to the previous year.
Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, said: “Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter.”
Besides, he anticipates that global smartphone sales will rebound this year, making Apple’s numbers bigger.
“The rising demand for affordable 5G smartphones outside China will boost smartphone sales in 2021,” he added.