Apple has now claimed the dominant position in the global smartphone market, dethroning Samsung for the first time in over a decade, as revealed by data from the International Data Corporation (IDC). The American tech giant secured more than a fifth of the market share last year, selling over 234 million phones, making it the top player in the industry.
According to IDC, Samsung captured 19.4% of the market share, trailing behind Apple. Chinese smartphone manufacturers Xiaomi, OPPO, and Transsion followed suit. The shakeup in market leadership comes amid a decline in smartphone sales, with almost 1.2 billion units sold last year, marking a drop of over 3% compared to the previous year. This sales slump is attributed to pandemic-related economic challenges and high-interest rates, resulting in consumers tightening their spending.
Despite the overall market downturn, Apple stands out as the “biggest winner,” exhibiting positive annual growth and securing the number one spot annually for the first time ever, according to Nabila Popal from the IDC. This accomplishment is notable considering Apple faced increased regulatory challenges and resurging competition from Huawei in China, its largest market.
Huawei, facing restrictions due to national security concerns, has made progress in manufacturing its own chips after being banned from purchasing chips using US technology. Apple’s success is also credited to trade-in offers for old models and interest-free financing plans, contributing to the sustained demand for premium devices.
In contrast, Samsung, the longtime leader in memory chips, smartphones, and televisions, experienced a decline in profits due to weak global demand for consumer electronics. The company faces competition from more affordable Android models, such as Transsion and Xiaomi, gaining traction among price-conscious consumers and in emerging markets.
The IDC points out that the smartphone market is entering an intriguing phase, marked by a proliferation of Android providers diversifying the market. Additionally, consumers are increasingly prioritising foldable phones and artificial intelligence capabilities, ushering in what the IDC describes as a “very interesting time” for the smartphone industry.