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Samsung overtakes Apple in global smartphone shipments in first quarter, report finds

Huawei dropped out of the top five worldwide.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung's decision to slash prices of its flagship Galaxy S21 lineup by a cool $200 appears to be paying off.

The South Korean manufacturer overtook Apple in worldwide smartphone shipments in the first quarter of this year, according to a Thursday report published by research firm Canalys, shipping 76.5 million units to grab 22% of market share. Samsung also reported a strong set of first quarter earnings today bolstered by mobile division on the back of strong sales of the Galaxy S21 lineup.

By comparison, Apple shipped 52.4 million iPhones to capture 15% market share from the January to March quarter of this year.

The iPhone 12 Mini has sold "below expectations, but strength in other iPhone 12 models, as well as stronger demand for the older iPhone 11, helped it maintain strong momentum," the Canalys report said.

Despite lower shipments than Samsung, Apple's still pulling in more revenue than its South Korean rival, at least according to a report published this week by Counterpoint Research. In addition, Apple reported a stellar set of quarterly earnings bolstered by a 65% jump in iPhone sales.

Not far behind is China's Xiaomi, which shipped 49 million units to capture 14% of market share, according to the Canalys report. Fast-growing Chinese brands Oppo and Vivo rounded out the top five, shipping 37.6 million and 36 million units respectively, with sanction-riddled Huawei dropping down to seventh place.

Overall, the global smartphone industry has grown compared to last year to reach 347 million units shipped in the first quarter of this year, growing by 27% according to Canalys.