Smartphone sales declined 12.5% globally in 2020, according to a report by market research firm Gartner. The company said global smartphone market declined by 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Apple took the top spot in the December quarter with 20.8% market share, growing just over 3% year-on-year.

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South Korean smartphone maker Samsung took the second spot with 16.2% market share, falling by about 1% year-on-year. Xiaomi, Oppo and Huawei took the next three spots, respectively, with 11.3%, 8.9% and 8.9% market share. Other smartphone makers shared the rest of the market, said the report.

“The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimized the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “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,” he added.

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei registered the highest decline amongst the top five smartphone vendors in the world. This was due to the ban on the company by Google, following sanctions by the US government, stopping American companies from doing business with Huawei.

Gupta said lower end 5G smartphones and “innovative features” will be the deciding factors for end users in 2021. He said rising demand for such phones outside of China will boost smartphone sales worldwide.

The global decline also impacted India, according to other reports. In its quarterly mobile phone tracker for the fourth quarter of 2020, the International Data Corporation (IDC) noted that shipments in India declined by 2% year-on-year in 2020, for the first time since 2009. The country saw 150 million units of smartphones being shipped in 2020.

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