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Apple, Samsung Bought One Fifth Of 2020’s Semiconductors

Apple and Samsung remained the biggest buyers of semiconductors during 2020, snapping up 20 per cent of the global market between them.

Apple stayed atop the list of chip customers last year, with 11.9 per cent of the total market worldwide and $53.6 billion USD total spend, while Samsung was number two at 8.1 per cent and $36.4 billion total spend, according to a report from research company Gartner.

Continued demand for AirPods, as well as special demand for Macs and iPads, were among the drivers that kept Apple in the number one spot; the company also transitioned to making its own chips in the latter half of the year.

Masatsune Yamaji, research director at Gartner, pointed to COVID-19 as one of the major factors impacting semiconductors over the course of the year.

“The pandemic weakened the demand for 5G smartphones and disrupted vehicle production, but drove the demand for mobile PCs and video games, as well as the investment in cloud data centers through 2020.

“Furthermore, a rise in memory prices in 2020 resulted in increased OEM chip spending through the year,” he said.

While Huawei kept the third spot at 4.2 per cent, it just barely edged out Lenovo following a 23.5 per cent slash in its semiconductor spending. According to Yamaji, continued tensions between the US and China hurt the manufacturer.

“The U.S. government increased trade restrictions on Huawei in 2020, limiting its ability to purchase semiconductors, which, in turn, limited its smartphone supply and reduced its market share.

“However, the Chinese market remains important for semiconductor vendors, as other Chinese smartphone OEMs stepped in to fill the vacuum created by Huawei in the second half of 2020,” he said, adding that Xiaomi was a big beneficiary of sanctions against Huawei, increasing its own spending by 26 per cent.

The top 10 OEMs – Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo, Dell, BBK, HP, Xiaomi, Hon Hai Precision Industry, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise – together made up 42 per cent of the total market share in 2020, spending $188.7 billion USD between them.

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