According to a survey by the International Data Corporation (IDC), Apple has surpassed Samsung to take the top spot in terms of worldwide smartphone shipments. This is also the first time Apple has ever ranked #1 and the first time a business other than Samsung has occupied the top spot since 2010.
According to the IDC analysis, Apple was one of the only businesses to see growth in phone sales in 2023, despite a 3.2% general fall in worldwide smartphone shipments. Despite the fact that IDC reports that this was the lowest annual total of smartphones sold in a decade, a strong second half of 2023 suggests that the market will rebound overall in 2024. 326.1 million shipments and an 8.5% year-over-year gain were recorded in the fourth quarter (4Q23).
Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team, states that Apple has emerged victorious in the second half of 2023, “despite some strong growth from low-end Android players like Transsion and Xiaomi, stemming from rapid growth in emerging markets.”
Not only is Apple the only company among the top three to exhibit yearly growth, but it also takes the top spot for the first time ever. All of this is true even if it is dealing with more regulatory obstacles and fresh Huawei competition in China, its biggest market. The growing trend of premium devices, which currently account for over 20% of the market and are supported by aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing programmes, is largely responsible for Apple’s continued success and resiliency, Popal adds.
For what it’s worth, the market for cameras has similarly followed this trend towards higher-end, more costly gadgets. Higher average pricing can counteract declines in unit sales when examining overall revenue. The flagship smartphones, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, are incredible gadgets, as PetaPixel has personal experience with.
The fierce rivalry in the smartphone industry is further highlighted by the overall change in the top rankings, according to Ryan Reith, group vice president of IDC’s Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers. “Apple undoubtedly contributed to Samsung’s decline in ranking, but the Android market as a whole is becoming more diverse. Huawei has returned and is rapidly gaining traction in China. In the lower end of the high end, brands such as OnePlus, Honour, Google, and others are releasing devices that are fiercely competitive. Additionally, foldables and more conversations about smartphone AI capabilities are becoming popular. All things considered, the future of smartphones promises to be incredibly intriguing.
When comparing market share to year-over-year growth in unit sales, Apple saw growth of 3.7% from 2022 to 2023, while Samsung’s shipments fell by a considerable 13.6%. It will be interesting to observe if Samsung’s tendency is reversed in 2024 with the new Galaxy S24 devices.
While many firms, including Samsung, saw a decline in shipments last year, which accounts for the 3.2% overall decline in smartphone shipments in 2023, Apple’s positive gain is eclipsed by Transsion, a relatively new competitor, who saw a growth of 30.8%.
Will Apple be able to maintain its top status or will it be a one-year wonder, with Samsung launching its Galaxy S24 handsets today and smaller but important players like OnePlus, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo ready to make waves this year?