In 2024, Apple surpassed Samsung to become the largest smartphone manufacturer globally, as reported by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

apple and samsung
Apple and Samsung

Despite a 3.2% year-over-year decline in overall smartphone shipments globally, totaling 1.17 billion units in 2023, Apple’s success marked a significant shift in the industry.

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Apple’s achievement is notable, considering the challenges posed by a 10-year low in smartphone shipments, driven by macroeconomic factors and elevated inventory levels early in the year. However, a strong second-half performance has set the stage for a projected recovery in 2024.

The last time a company other than Samsung led the smartphone market was in 2010, and it wasn’t Apple. IDC emphasized that Apple’s ascent was fueled by an all-time high market share and its first-time position at the top.

Despite facing regulatory challenges and increased competition from Huawei in China, Apple’s resilience and success were attributed to the growing trend of premium devices, constituting over 20% of the market. Aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing plans also played a role in Apple’s performance.

In terms of shipments, apple shipped a total of 234.6 million smartphones in 2023, securing a 20.1% market share. Samsung followed closely with 226.6 million shipments, holding a 19.4% market share. Xiaomi secured the third position with 145.9 million shipments and a 12.5% market share.

The overall shift in market ranking highlights the fierce competition within the smartphone industry. Factors such as the resurgence of Huawei in China, the diversification of the Android space, and the emergence of competitive devices in various price ranges contribute to the evolving landscape of the smartphone market.

Ryan Reith, Group Vice President of IDC’s Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, noted that the industry is heading towards an interesting time with discussions around foldable devices and increased focus on AI capabilities in smartphones gaining traction.