Global Smartphone Production Bounces Back in Q4 2023, Apple Leads

After facing an eight-quarter slump, global smartphone production has witnessed a significant resurgence in the third quarter of 2023, according to the latest insights from TrendForce.
Global Smartphone Production in Q4 2023The trend continued into the year-end surge, with brands ramping up production to capitalize on market opportunities. As a result, smartphone output in the fourth quarter surged by 12.1 percent, reaching a total of 337 million units. Despite this impressive quarterly growth, the annual production for 2023 experienced a slight dip of 2.1 percent, totaling 1.166 billion units.

Looking ahead to 2024, analysts anticipate a more promising outlook, with the market expected to shake off the inventory pressures of the previous year. However, the pace of market recovery remains a subject of scrutiny, with attention turning towards the integration of AI applications in smartphones, as industry giants collaborate to usher in the next wave of AI-powered devices.

Apple has emerged as the standout performer in the fourth quarter, experiencing a 58.6 percent surge in production. The buzz surrounding its iPhone 15 series propelled Apple to produce approximately 78.5 million units, solidifying its lead in the market.

Nevertheless, Apple witnessed a 4.2 percent decline in annual production, falling to 223 million units, securing the second position overall. The resurgence of Huawei poses a challenge for Apple in the premium segment, particularly in China, where both brands vie for the attention of high-end consumers.

Samsung navigated through a transitional phase in the fourth quarter, witnessing an 11 percent decline in production to around 53.5 million units. Despite this setback, Samsung maintained its position as the second-largest producer for the quarter. Samsung’s annual production of smartphone took a hit of 11.3 percent, slipping to 229 million units, narrowing its lead over Apple to a marginal 0.5 percent.

Xiaomi, including its sub-brands Redmi and POCO, managed a modest 0.7 percent growth in fourth-quarter production, reaching 43.1 million units. However, it experienced a 6.1 percent decrease in annual production, totaling 147 million units.

Oppo, including Oppo, Realme, and OnePlus, saw a 3.4 percent increase in quarterly production, ending the year with a 4.1 percent dip to 139 million units. Vivo, including Vivo and iQoo, achieved a 4.1 percent growth in the fourth quarter, but experienced a 2.9 percent decrease in annual production, sliding to sixth place globally.

The Chinese smartphone market is bracing for heightened competition amidst a downturn in consumer spending and Huawei’s aggressive market return.

Transsion, which includes TECNO, Infinix, and itel, emerged as a strong contender, achieving an 11.3 percent growth in the fourth quarter. Breaking the 90 million annual production barrier, Transsion marked a significant 46.3 percent increase, propelling it to the fifth position globally.

TrendForce attributes Transsion’s success to the replenishment of channel inventory, expansion into new markets such as India and South America, and diversification of product offerings beyond entry-level devices.