In the smartphone market landscape, Apple has dethroned Samsung Electronics, ending the latter’s 12-year reign as the world’s largest smartphone seller. According to the latest report from International Data Corp (IDC), Apple secured a substantial 20 percent market share in 2023, surpassing Samsung, which concluded the year with a 19.4 percent share.
The change in ranking reflects a challenging year for the smartphone industry, marked by cautious consumer spending on upgrades and a preference for more budget-friendly options amidst global economic uncertainties and high inflation. The International Data Corp’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker revealed that Apple and Transsion, the parent company of Tecno, Infinix, and itel brands, were the only two among the top five smartphone vendors to register sales growth.
Despite an overall market decline of 3.2 percent to 1.17 billion units – reaching a decade-low, Apple and Transsion experienced positive growth. Apple’s iPhone shipments increased by 3.7 percent, while Samsung faced a decline of 13.6 percent in phone shipments. This notable growth for Apple underscores its resilience in the face of a challenging market environment.
Nabila Popal, Research Director at IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team, highlighted, “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.”
Samsung’s strategy of focusing on the mid- to high-end segment for profitability resulted in a loss of share in the low-end segment, according to Amber Liu of research firm Canalys. Meanwhile, Apple is not without challenges, facing pressure in China from a resurgent Huawei and competition from budget-friendly Chinese brands. To counter this, Apple is offering discounts of up to 5 percent on certain models in China to attract customers.
This shift in the smartphone market’s dynamics comes at a time when Microsoft recently surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable public company. Wall Street’s growing concerns over the demand for Apple’s high-end gadgets and iPhones played a pivotal role in this change.
As the competition in the smartphone industry intensifies, Apple’s ability to maintain its lead and navigate challenges, especially in key markets like China, will be closely monitored by industry observers and investors alike.