Apple Surpasses Samsung In Global Smartphone Market

In 2023, Apple overtakes Samsung as the world's largest smartphone maker by volume, marking a significant shift.

Who did better in smartphone sales in 2023, Apple or Samsung?

In a notable shift within the smartphone industry, Apple emerged as the world's largest smartphone maker by volume in 2023, dethroning Samsung after its 12-year leadership. This achievement marks Apple's first ascension to the top in terms of units shipped, reflecting a change in consumer preferences towards higher-priced smartphones.

iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro starting at $999 (Photo: Apple)

Apple's Growth Amid Market Challenges

Despite a challenging year for the smartphone market, with overall device shipments falling 3.2% to 1.17 billion units, Apple was the only major smartphone manufacturer to witness growth. The iPhone maker's shipments increased by 3.7%, reaching 234.6 million units, slightly ahead of Samsung's 226.6 million. This growth, which took place in a year considered the worst in a decade for the smartphone industry, underscores Apple's resilience and appeal.

Samsung's Struggles And Market Dynamics

Samsung, on the verge of releasing its Galaxy S24 model, experienced a 13.6% decline in shipments in 2023. This downturn was partly due to Huawei's recovery in China and the rise of more affordable Android smartphone makers. Notably, Transsion, a dominant player in Africa with brands like Tecno, Infinix, and itel, saw a 30.8% increase, placing it in the top five behind Xiaomi and Oppo. Samsung's focus on mid- to high-end segments for profitability led to a loss in market share in the lower-end segment and its global leadership.

Bar Chart
Market Share 2023

The Evolving Smartphone Market Landscape

The global smartphone market has undergone significant changes since Samsung first took the lead in 2011. Over the years, smartphone technology has matured, and new features have become more incremental, leading to less frequent upgrades by consumers. However, when consumers do opt for new devices, they increasingly choose higher-end models, a trend that has largely benefited Apple. With over 20% of the market now composed of premium devices, Apple's strategy of raising iPhone prices and offering aggressive trade-in deals and financing plans has paid off.

Recommended: Microsoft And Apple: A Race For Market Supremacy

Apple's Position In The Tech Industry

Despite these achievements in the smartphone market, Apple briefly lost its title as the world's most valuable public company to Microsoft, with concerns about iPhone sales in China affecting its market position. However, Apple's iPhone sales rebounded by 11.6% in the fourth quarter of 2023, following the launch of its latest models. This ongoing success reflects Apple's ability to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing market, solidifying its position as a leading player in the global tech industry.


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