Despite a 3.2 per cent decrease in global smartphone shipments year over year in 2023, Apple beat Samsung to first place in global smartphone shipments for the first time according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. Apple managed to ship 236.6 million iPhones in 2023, compared to Samsung’s 226.6 million shipments. Xiaomi is in third place with 145.9 million shipments, followed by Oppo with 103.1 million shipments. Transsion Holdings, the parent company of Tecno, Infinix, and Airtel completes the top 5 with a total smartphone shipment of 94.9 million in 2023.
The last time a company other than Samsung wasn’t number for global smartphone shipments was in 2010, which is more than a decade ago. Despite a drop year over year in total smartphone shipments, the fourth quarter saw an 8.5% increase bringing total shipments to 326.1 million, according to IDC. In total, more than 1.1 billion smartphones were shipped globally in 2023, according to Canalys. Apple had a strong fourth quarter thanks to the launch of the iPhone 15 series, while Samsung rose to fourth place thanks to recovery from emerging market.
“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. “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. All this despite facing increased regulatory challenges and renewed competition from Huawei in China, its largest market. Apple’s ongoing success and resilience is in large part due to the increasing trend of premium devices, which now represent over 20% of the market, fueled by aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing plans.”
Despite Apple being the biggest challenger to Samsung, IDC notes that the competition is intense more than ever in the smartphone market. Huawei is making inroads in China, while other Android phone makers like OnePlus, Honor, and Google are pushing out competitive devices in the market.