In a historic shift in the smartphone market, Apple has dethroned Samsung to clinch the title of the top smartphone maker of the year, as revealed by IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. This remarkable milestone, a first in Apple’s history, underscores the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of the smartphone industry. According to IDC, Apple’s shipment figures stand at a staggering 234.6 million units, outpacing Samsung’s 226.6 million. This seismic shift in the market dynamics is further corroborated by another research entity, Canalys, which echoes Apple’s ascendancy in 2023.
The significance of this development cannot be overstated, considering that it has been over a decade – 13 years to be precise – since Samsung last missed the top spot. Back in 2010, a year markedly different in the smartphone realm, the leaderboard was dominated by brands like Nokia, LG Electronics, ZTE, and Research in Motion, the makers of BlackBerry devices, with Apple not even making the top five.
IDC’s research director, Nabila Popal, attributes Apple’s success to increasing consumer preference for premium devices, now accounting for over 20% of the market. This surge is fueled by aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing plans, making premium gadgets more accessible.
However, the competition in the smartphone arena remains fierce, with Android manufacturers like Huawei, OnePlus, Honor, and Google intensifying the challenge, not just for Samsung but also posing a potential threat to Apple’s growth, particularly in the Chinese market. Huawei’s resilience, despite U.S. sanctions, is especially noteworthy.
Despite a 3.2 percent dip in overall smartphone shipments in 2023 compared to the previous year, IDC and Canalys report a promising recovery in the final quarter. With shipments growing 8.5 percent year-on-year according to IDC, and Canalys documenting an 8 percent increase after seven consecutive quarters of decline, the smartphone market shows signs of rebounding from its recent downturn.