Apple secures top spot in global smartphone sales for 2023

Tech giant secures 20 percent of market share
Apple secures top spot in global smartphone sales for 2023
Apple's iPhone shipments increased by 3.7 percent

In a significant shift in the tech landscape, Apple has emerged as the world’s leading smartphone seller, overtaking Samsung’s 12-year reign at the top. According to a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), Apple secured a 20 percent market share in 2023, marking the end of Samsung’s era with a 19.4 percent share.

Challenging landscape

The change in rankings follows a challenging year for the smartphone industry, with consumers opting for more budget-friendly Smartphones. This comes amidst high inflation and economic uncertainties the world is facing. Preliminary data from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker revealed that the overall market declined by 3.2 percent to 1.17 billion units, hitting a decade-low.

Growth performers

Despite the industry’s overall decline, Apple and Transsion, known for its Tecno, Infinix, and itel brands, were the only two among the top five smartphone vendors to record sales growth. Apple’s iPhone shipments increased by 3.7 percent. Meanwhile, Samsung faced a 13.6 percent decline in smartphone shipments in 2023.

Apple attributes that success to its focus on premium devices, which now represent over 20 percent of the market. Apple’s resilience was evident despite increased regulatory challenges and renewed competition from Huawei in China, its largest market.

Chinese market

While Apple celebrates its triumph, it faces pressure in China from Huawei’s resurgence and competition from affordable Chinese brands. In response, Apple has initiated discounts of up to 5 percent on models in the country to attract customers. The report also highlighted Microsoft surpassing Apple as the world’s most valuable public company, raising concerns about demand for high-end gadgets.

Top 5 companies

According to the IDC, the top five companies, based on worldwide smartphone shipments, market share, and year-over-year growth, are:

  1. Apple: a United States multinational technology company that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services.
  2. Samsung: a South Korean multinational major appliance and consumer electronics corporation
  3. Xiaomi: a Chinese multinational electronics company founded in April 2010 and headquartered in Beijing.
  4. Transsion: a Chinese manufacturer of mobile phones based in Shenzhen
  5. vivo: a Chinese multinational technology company headquartered in Dongguan, Guangdong that designs and develops smartphones, smartphone accessories, software, and online services.

Read: Microsoft at Davos 2024: Emerging global consensus on artificial intelligence

Market outlook

The shift in rankings signifies the intensity of competition within the smartphone market. While Apple played a role in Samsung’s drop, the overall Android space is diversifying. Brands like Huawei, OnePlus, Honor, Google, and others are launching competitive devices, and discussions around foldable and AI capabilities are gaining traction.

The global smartphone market faced unprecedented challenges in 2023. However, the shift in rankings and signs of recovery in the latter part of the year suggest a dynamic landscape for 2024. Apple’s ascent to the top spot marks a pivotal moment, showcasing the company’s ability to navigate challenges and maintain its position as an industry leader. As the competition intensifies and new technologies emerge, the smartphone space is undoubtedly headed towards an intriguing future.

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