In a groundbreaking shift in the smartphone industry, Apple has claimed the top spot in global smartphone sales for the first time, surpassing long-time leader Samsung.
Recent data from the analytics firm IDC revealed that in 2023, Apple shipped an impressive 234.6 million smartphones, edging out Samsung’s 226.6 million. Not far behind, Xiaomi secured the third position with a shipment of 145.9 million units.
Apple’s leap to the forefront can be attributed to a notably robust performance in the final quarter of 2023. During this period, Apple’s shipment numbers reached a staggering 80.5 million, significantly higher than Samsung’s 53 million and Xiaomi’s 40.7 million. This achievement is particularly noteworthy as Apple was the only major player in the top three to register growth in a challenging year.
The success of Apple in this competitive landscape is a testament to the resilience of its smartphone business, especially given the challenging global economic conditions. Overall, the smartphone market saw a 3.2% decline in shipments year-over-year. However, Apple bucked this trend, primarily due to its expanding presence in emerging markets and a growing demand for premium devices, which now account for more than 20% of the market. This surge is fueled by enticing trade-in offers and interest-free financing options, as observed by IDC’s research director Nabila Popal.
Apple’s ascent to the pinnacle of the smartphone market is a historic moment, considering its history in the sector. Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, Apple has been a key player but never clinched the yearly top spot. Back then, Nokia was the dominant force in the market. Over the years, Samsung mostly held the lead, with Apple competing closely with other giants like Huawei and Xiaomi for the second place. Now, with this recent development, Apple has firmly established its dominance in the global smartphone market.