Apple’s iPhone 12 series and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE 5G kept the US market afloat in Q4 2020

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere in the remote deserts of Australia for the last few days, Counterpoint Research is out today with yet another report highlighting Apple‘s astounding final three months of 2020 in the smartphone market.

What’s still impressive to hear is that Apple managed to defy the overall 6 percent year-on-year decline of the US handset market, boosting the local iPhone sales figures by a whopping 14 percent compared to the last 90 days of 2019. Said achievement is made that much more remarkable by the raging coronavirus pandemic, as well as the late iPhone 12 family release and lengthy initial waiting times for the two new Pro models.

As a consequence of many potential buyers not being able to get their hands on a 5G-enabled iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max in time for the holidays, analysts also expect some sales to “spill over into Q1 2021.” That’s bad news for Samsung, which was the only other company that pulled off a (small) Q4 2020 win stateside, gaining 5 percent in volume from the same quarter of the previous year.
The world’s largest smartphone vendor of 2020 ended the year on a (relatively) high note in the US thanks primarily to the inexpensive Galaxy S20 FE 5G. The early commercial debut and reasonable pricing structure of the Galaxy S21 series are likely to help Samsung perform well during the opening stages of 2021, but it remains to be seen just how much of an impact the iPhone 12 lineup will make on its direct rivals’ appeal.

Curiously enough, the latest Counterpoint analysis makes absolutely no mention of LG, Nokia, Google, Alcatel, Motorola, ZTE, and Coolpad’s abysmal Q4 2020 performances. All these brands took significant hits of anywhere between 12 and 87 percent during the typically auspicious holiday season of last year, as demand for sub-$300 devices fell off a cliff due to a number of different economic factors.

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