Apple pushes back Samsung – changing smartphone market dominance

Samsung’s decade-long reign as the global smartphone market leader has come to an end, making way for Apple to claim the top spot in 2023, according to a recent IDC report.

Apple’s ascent was propelled by a steady rise in the premium segment, constituting over 20% of total sales, coupled with robust performances in the U.S. and strategic resale, exchange, and leasing programs. Shipping 234.6 million iPhones, Apple seized 20.1% of the global market, marking a 3.7% increase. Meanwhile, Samsung slipped to second place, shipping 226.6 million units, holding a 19.4% share—a 13.6% decrease.

China’s Xiaomi secured the third spot with 145.9 million smartphones, observing a 12.5% decline from 2022. The fourth and fifth positions were claimed by Oppo and Transsion, the latter experiencing the highest growth rate among the top five.

What’s intriguing is Samsung’s sales decline in Q4 2023, a rarity among the leading players. As anticipation builds for the Galaxy S24 series launch on January 17, Samsung aims to rebound with sophisticated devices like the Galaxy Flip 6 and Galaxy Fold 6.

The broader smartphone market faced a 3.2% volume decline in 2023, hitting a decade-low of 1.17 billion devices. However, a glimmer of hope emerged in Q4 2023, with an 8.5% increase in shipments, surpassing forecasts. IDC highlights the resurgence of lower-tier Android players like Transsion and Xiaomi, driven by resurging demand in emerging markets.

Huawei’s return to the Chinese market, fierce competition in the lower high-end price range, and the rise of AI-centric devices add layers of complexity to the ever-evolving smartphone landscape. As the industry undergoes dynamic shifts, IDC’s Ryan Reith foresees intriguing times ahead for the smartphone market in 2024.