In an unprecedented market shift, Apple has dethroned Samsung in the global smartphone arena for 2023, marking a significant milestone. This year, Apple not only overtook Samsung to become the leading brand in smartphone shipments worldwide, but also emerged as the only top-three player to register positive growth.
International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed that Apple secured a 20.1% market share, slightly ahead of Samsung’s 19.4%. This change in leadership ends Samsung’s long-standing dominance since 2010, which was attributed to its wide range of products, from affordable models to high-end $2,000 foldables.
Apple’s rise to the top is particularly notable given the overall market dynamics. The company saw an increase in shipments from 226.3 million units to 234.6 million units, despite a general market decline of 3.2% to 1.17 billion units in 2023.
Among the leading trio of Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi, only Apple succeeded in boosting its shipment volumes year-over-year.
Nabila Popal, IDC’s research director, remarked, “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.” She highlighted Apple’s unique achievement of showing annual positive growth and clinching the number one position for the first time.
The diversification in the Android smartphone market also played a role in this shift. Brands like Huawei, Honor, and OnePlus have been offering competitive devices at more accessible price points, which contributed to Samsung’s relative decline.
Interestingly, Apple’s dominance in shipments came in a year where the iPhone 15 lineup was only introduced in September, meaning most sales were driven by the iPhone 14. Despite this achievement in market share, Apple faced a decline in overall revenue each quarter of 2023.
The year 2023, while challenging for the smartphone industry as a whole, marked a turning point with Apple’s ascent to the top spot in global smartphone shipments, setting the stage for an intriguing competitive landscape in 2024.