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Apple Overtakes Samsung as World’s Biggest Smartphone Brand

Apple Samsung Smartphone
iPhone 15. Credit: Apple

Apple overtook Samsung as the world’s biggest smartphone brand in 2023, according to the latest numbers from market research firm IDC.

Samsung’s reign at the top for more than a decade came to an end as the iPhone mnufacturer shipped 234.6 million smartphones and acquired a 20.1 percent share of the market.

By comparison, Samsung shipped 226.6 million Galaxy smartphones in 2023, accounting for a 19.4 percent share of the market. That’s a 13.6 percent drop compared to its shipments from 2022 (262.2 million).

Samsung had a bad year overall, but its smartphone business did pretty well in terms of profit, thanks to the company’s focus on high-end smartphones like the Galaxy S23, Galaxy Z Flip 5, and Galaxy Z Fold 5.

The overall smartphone market dropped 3.2 percent in 2023 compared to the year earlier. However, 2024 could be a good year for Samsung, as it is reportedly confident of shipping more Galaxy S24 units than it did with the Galaxy S23 series last year. The company is also expected to launch the massively improved Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Galaxy Z Fold 6 later this year.

Apple vs Samsung and the rest in the smartphone market

Apple increased its shipments by 3.7 percent despite it being a bad year for the smartphone market. The company shipped the iPhone 15 series with a new screen design for the non-Pro models and a titanium design for the Pro models in the lineup.

Apple Samsung Smartphone
Credit: IDC

Xiaomi was the third-biggest smartphone brand in 2023, with a 12.5 percent share of the market and shipments crossing the 146 million mark. Its shipments, too, dropped by 4.7 percent compared to a year earlier.

Even OPPO’s shipments dropped close to 10 percent in 2023, and it ranked fourth overall. Transsion, the firm that owns smartphone brands Infinix, Itel, and Tecno, saw a massive jump of 30.8 percent in shipments. The company shipped close to 95 million smartphones in 2023.

“The overall shift in ranking at the top of the market further highlights the intensity of competition within the smartphone market,” Ryan Reith, Group Vice President with IDC’s Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, said.

“Apple certainly played a part in Samsung’s drop in rank, but the overall Android space is diversifying within itself,” he added.

“Huawei is back and making inroads quickly within China,” Reith said. “Brands like OnePlus, Honor, Google, and others are launching very competitive devices in the lower price range of the high end. And foldable and increased discussions around AI capabilities on the smartphone are gaining traction. Overall, the smartphone space is headed towards a very interesting time.”

Related: Apple Poised for Most Significant iPhone Change in Over a Decade

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