A new market report from Gartner labeled Huawei and Samsung as the biggest losers in the 2020 smartphone race, in that particular order. Both companies saw their annual growth trends reversed over the course of the last year, though Huawei lost ground at a nearly quadruple rate to Samsung. Granted, Samsung can hardly take pride in that stark difference, given the unique difficulties Huawei faced on top of a global pandemic.
The good news is that Samsung managed to recover its trajectory in the final quarter of the year, according to Gartner’s insights. More specifically, while its year-over-year growth rate was at nearly -12%, the fourth-quarter sales managed to surpass 62 million devices, 16.2% up compared to the same period in 2019.
Is the worst yet to come for Samsung?
Samsung still needs to double down on its recovery rate if it wants to make up for the gap that’s separating it from Apple as of the final three months of 2020. These insights are largely in line with what other industry watchers have observed in recent weeks. Besides Huawei, Samsung is the only major smartphone manufacturer that sold significantly fewer devices last year than in 2019. That’s likely a big part of the reason why it was so eager to start 2021 on a high note with an uncharacteristically early release of the Galaxy S21 range.
Such fierce initiative was also what served Samsung well at the end of 2020. E.g., Gartner’s data suggests the Galaxy S20 FE did a lot of heavy lifting in the company’s efforts to salvage whatever it can last quarter. Given that state of affairs, the worst is likely behind Samsung, at least as far as the immediate effects of a global pandemic are concerned.