“First Ever: Apple Surpasses Samsung in Global Smartphone Shipments”

The tech giant accounted for 20% of the global market with 234.6 million shipments last year. Samsung closed the year with 226.6 million shipments, while Xiaomi and Oppo saw 145.9 and 103.1 shipments, respectively. Transsion rounded out the top five with 94.9 million shipments. According to the report, global smartphone shipments declined 3.2% year over year to 1.17 billion units in 2023. “The fourth quarter (4Q23) saw 8.5% year-over-year growth and 326.1 million shipments, higher than the forecast of 7.3% growth.”

In a surprising turn of events, Apple’s iPhone has surpassed Samsung to become the top-selling smartphone in 2023, according to a recent report by IDC.

“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,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team, in a press release.

This marks the first time since 2010 that a company other than Samsung has claimed the number one spot in the smartphone market. In fact, the report notes that Apple accounted for an impressive 20% of the global market, with 234.6 million shipments in the last year. Samsung came in second with 226.6 million shipments, followed by Xiaomi (145.9 million), Oppo (103.1 million), and Transsion (94.9 million).

In addition to surpassing Samsung, Apple has also achieved another significant milestone – ranking first in annual smartphone shipments for the first time ever.

“Not only is Apple the only player in the Top 3 to show positive growth annually, but also bags the number 1 spot annually for the first time ever,” Popal continued.

This success is even more impressive considering the increased regulatory challenges and competition from Huawei in China, which is Apple’s largest market. To attract customers, Apple has begun offering rare discounts on some of its smartphones in China. According to IDC, this ongoing success can largely be attributed to the growing trend of premium devices, which now make up over 20% of the market. Aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing plans have also played a significant role.

However, Apple was not the only factor in Samsung’s decline in rank. Competition within the Android space has also heated up, with companies like OnePlus, Honor, Google, and others launching competitive devices at lower price points in the high-end scale. Additionally, foldables and conversations surrounding AI capabilities on smartphones are gaining traction.

The report also revealed that global smartphone shipments declined by 3.2% in 2023 compared to the previous year, totaling 1.17 billion units. This is the lowest full-year volume in a decade, primarily due to macroeconomic challenges and elevated inventory early in the year.

Despite this decline, IDC predicts a recovery in 2024 as the second half of 2023 saw 8.5% year-over-year growth and 326.1 million shipments, surpassing the initial forecast of 7.3% growth.

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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