In a historic shift, Apple has emerged as the leader in the global smartphone market for 2023, capturing the top spot and achieving an unprecedented market share, the International Data Corporation (IDC) said in the report.
Apple has shipped 80.5 million iPhones in Q4 2023 and 234.6 million in 2023. For comparison, Samsung shipped 53 million smartphones in the fourth quarter and 226.6 million for the full-year.
This marks the first time since 2010 that a company other than Samsung has claimed the throne in the highly competitive smartphone industry. IDC analysts have revealed the strategies that contributed to the success of Apple, without mentioning what went wrong for Samsung.
Xiaomi shipped 40.7 million smartphones in Q4 and 145.9 million in 2023. Transsion’s smartphone shipment touched 28.2 million in Q4 and 94.9 million in 2023.
Oppo shipped 103.1 million smartphones in 2023, while Vivo shipped 24.1 million in 2023.
According to preliminary data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the overall global Smartphone shipments experienced a decline of 3.2 percent year over year, totaling 1.17 billion units in 2023.
Despite facing macroeconomic challenges and elevated inventory levels earlier in the year, the market exhibited signs of recovery in the second half, with a notable 8.5 percent year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter (4Q23), totaling 326.1 million shipments.
Apple’s ascendancy to the top position was fueled by an all-time high market share and positive annual growth, making it the sole player in the top three to achieve this feat. Nabila Popal, Research Director with IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team, highlighted Apple’s remarkable success amidst increased regulatory challenges and resurging competition from Huawei in China, Apple’s largest market.
The biggest winner is clearly Apple. Apple exhibited positive annual growth, securing the number 1 spot for the first time. Apple navigated increased regulatory challenges and revived competition from Huawei in China.
“Apple’s resilience and ongoing success can be attributed to the rising trend of premium devices, constituting over 20 percent of the market. This surge is propelled by Apple’s aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing plans,” Nabila Popal said.
IDC observed a diversification within the overall Android space, with Huawei rapidly gaining ground in China and other brands such as OnePlus, Honor, Google, and more launching compelling devices in the lower price range of the high end. The rise of foldable smartphones and growing discussions around AI capabilities further underscored the dynamic nature of the smartphone industry.
Apple certainly played a part in Samsung’s drop in rank, but the overall Android space is diversifying within itself. Huawei is back and making inroads within China. Brands like OnePlus, Honor, Google, and others are launching very competitive devices in the lower price range of the high end.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has toppled Apple to become the world’s largest company in terms of market capitalization, driven by its focus on generative artificial intelligence (AI). Notably, Microsoft’s market value has risen by over $1 trillion over the past year.