Samsung boots Apple out of top spot as world's biggest camera phone maker

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is now officially the world's biggest camera phone maker again, kicking Apple off the top spot to reclaim its crown. The first financial quarter saw Samsung capturing a fifth of the overall global shipments of camera phones, shipping 76.5 million units with a 22% share of the market. 

Meanwhile, Apple shipped just 52.4 million iPhones, giving it a 15% share of the market that saw it drop to second place behind Samsung. 

• Read more: Best Samsung phone

These results aren't overly surprising, once you consider the context of Apple's release cycle. Apple launched the iPhone 12 series across October and November, just in time for consumers to make their purchases over the Christmas period. With the first financial quarter falling across the January-March period and no new iPhone releases during that period, Samsung's rise back to the top makes sense. 

As reported by market research firm Canalys, global shipments of camera phones went up bu 27% to 347 million units in the first quarter. Reuters explains this as being the result of "a swift vaccine rollout in the United States" and the Chinese economy opening up after the pandemic. 

While Samsung is the overall winner for the first quarter, Xiaomi's performance certainly deserves an honorary mention. Xiaomi Corp had its best quarterly performance ever, with shipments increasing by 62% to 49 million camera phones. Xiaomi's market share rose to 14%, which means that the phone manufacturer is now nipping at the heels of Apple. 

With Samsung expected to release handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 over the next year, we would expect to see Samsung hold the top spot over the next couple of quarters. However, when the iPhone 13 is released later this year, it's very possible that Apple could become number one once again. 

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Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine and  Digital Photographer. Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.