Between them Apple and Samsung bought 20 percent of the world’s semiconductors by value in 2020, up from 17.9 percent in 2018.

Huawei remained third ranked but struggled to buy leading-edge semiconductors under an embargo imposed by the United States and saw purchasing drop by 23.5 percent.

The ranking stayed the same as the previous year with four Chinese companies included. These were Huawei, Lenovo, BBK Electronics – which includes mobile phone brands Oppo and Vivo – and Xiaomi.

The top 10 increased their semiconductor spend by 10 percent in 2020, and accounted for 42 percent of the total market, up from 40.9 percent in 2019.

Preliminary ranking of top 10 semiconductor purchasing companies worldwide in 2020, (millions of dollars). Source: Gartner Inc.

“Two major factors impacted the top OEMs’ semiconductor spending in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and the political conflict between the U.S. and China,”said Masatsun Yamaji, research director at Gartner. “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.”

Although the pressure of trade restrictions impacted Huawei in 2020 other Chinese smartphone OEMs stepped up to fill the vacuum in 2H20, said Yamaji.

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