The global smartphone market grew for the first time since 2017, with annual shipments reaching 1.39 billion units in 2021, with Samsung leading the pack with 271 million units, a new report showed on Friday.

Despite the 4 percent annual growth, annual shipments remained below the pre-pandemic level due to continued Covid-19 impacts as well as component shortages, according to Counterpoint Research.

India, too, had a good year due to higher replacement rates, better availability and more attractive financing options in mid-to high-tier phones, – senior analyst Harmeet Singh Walia.

However, China, the world’s biggest smartphone market, continued to decline due to supply-side issues caused by the ongoing component shortages, as well as demand-side issues resulting from lengthening replacement cycles, Walia informed.

Samsung shipped 271 million units in 2021, up 6 percent from 2020, mainly due to increased demand for its mid-tier A and M series smartphones.

Samsung’s annual shipments grew despite supply-side issues starting with its Vietnam factory being shut in June due to Covid-induced lockdown, according to the report.

Apple’s global smartphone shipments grew 18 percent to reach a record 237.9 million units in 2021 due to strong performance by the iPhone 12 series.

Apple also grew in key markets such as the US, China, Europe, and India.

Motorola was the fastest-growing brand among the top 10 smartphone OEMs based on annual global shipments. It took advantage of LG’s exit in the US.

“Despite the threat of a resurgence towards the end of last year, and with supply issues hopefully coming to an end towards the middle of this year, there is reason to be optimistic for good growth in 2022 as a whole,” said research director Jan Stryjak.

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