Apple Surpasses Samsung in Global Smartphone Shipments for the First Time Since 2010, Leading Industry Recovery in 2023

In 2023, Apple has outpaced Samsung to become the leading smartphone shipper, marking a significant shift in the industry, according to a recent report by market research firm IDC. This achievement is noteworthy as it is the first time since 2010 that Apple has surpassed Samsung in global smartphone shipments. The rise of Apple can be attributed to the growing popularity of premium iPhone models and compelling trade-in incentives. Despite a 3.2 percent year-on-year decline in global smartphone shipments throughout 2023, the last quarter of the year witnessed an encouraging 8.5 percent year-on-year growth, indicating a potential recovery in 2024.

The IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker reveals that the challenging macroeconomic environment and high inventory levels contributed to the overall 3.2 percent year-on-year drop in global smartphone shipments, totaling 1.17 billion units in 2023. However, the final quarter of the year saw a surge with 326.1 million shipments and an 8.5 percent year-over-year growth.

For the first time in over a decade, Apple secured the top spot in global smartphone sales, surpassing Samsung and other Android manufacturers. Apple achieved a 20.1 percent market share by shipping 234.6 million units, while Samsung trailed closely with 226.6 million units and a 19.4 percent market share. Xiaomi claimed the third position with 145.9 million units and a 12.5 percent market share. Oppo and Transsion rounded up the top five, shipping 103.1 million and 94.9 million units, respectively, and securing 8.8 percent and 8.1 percent market shares.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Apple dominated the market with a 24.7 percent market share, leading Samsung, Xiaomi, Transsion, and Vivo in the top five rankings. IDC highlighted that the last time Samsung did not lead the smartphone market was 13 years ago in 2010. Apple’s success is attributed to the rising demand for premium devices and the availability of interest-free financing plans.

IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team research director, Nabila Popal, acknowledged Apple’s exceptional performance, stating, “While we saw some strong growth from low-end Android players like Transsion and Xiaomi in the second half of 2023, stemming from rapid growth in emerging markets, the biggest winner is clearly Apple.” Popal further emphasized that Apple is the only player in the top three to exhibit positive annual growth and clinch the number one spot for the first time, despite facing regulatory challenges and renewed competition from Huawei in its largest market, China.

Despite the overall decline in global smartphone shipments in 2023, IDC predicts a recovery in 2024, fueled by new product launches and the diversification of Android players. Ryan Reith, IDC’s Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers Vice President, noted that the Android space is diversifying, with Huawei gaining traction in China and brands like OnePlus, Honor, Google, and others launching competitive devices in the higher mid-range segment. The market is also witnessing increased interest in foldable phones and discussions around AI capabilities, indicating upcoming competitive trends.

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