• Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Apple ends Samsung reign as world’s largest maker of smartphones

Apple ends Samsung reign as world’s largest maker of smartphones

Apple has overtaken Samsung’s 12-year reign as the world’s top smartphone maker by volume for the first time in 2023, a new report shows.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), a market intelligence provider, the iPhone manufacturer last year was the only major handset maker to post annual unit growth with 2023 shipments rising 3.7 percent to 234.6mn to edge ahead of Samsung’s 226.6mn.

That uplift from Apple came in a year that was the worst in a decade for the smartphone market, with device shipments falling 3.2 percent to 1.17 billion units, IDC said.

“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,” he added.

Apple’s 20 percent market share was fueled by aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing plans, IDC said in a statement.

Apple has long been the top smartphone maker thanks to the iPhone’s dominance in the high end of the market. But last year was the first in which it also led by volume.

Notably, Apple lost its position as the world’s most valuable public company to its old rival Microsoft, as Wall Street fretted about the outlook for iPhone sales in China.

Apple’s iPhone sales, however, rebounded 11.6 per cent in the fourth quarter following the September launch of its latest models, according to IDC figures released on Monday.

The rankings of the smartphone market have changed beyond recognition since Samsung took the top spot in 2011, when Nokia, LG and BlackBerry led the market.

“In 2023, Samsung focused on the mid- to high-end segment for profitability but lost share in the low-end segment and also its leading position in the global market,” said Amber Liu, a manager at Canalys, a research group, which also ranked Apple as the market leader last year in figures.

Canalys said that smartphone shipments increased about 8 percent year on year in the fourth quarter, reversing seven consecutive quarters of decline, as demand from holiday shoppers improved.