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Apple Ousts Samsung as World’s Top Smartphone Seller

The US firm sold one in five of all handsets last year, though overall sales dropped as consumers cut their spending

A salesperson walks past an advertisement at an Apple reseller store
A salesperson walks past an advertisement at an Apple reseller store.


Apple ended Samsung’s 12-year run as the world’s biggest seller of smartphones in 2023, according to a report from International Data Corp.

The US giant claimed a 20% market share, while Samsung ended the year with a 19.4% share, followed by China’s Xiaomi, Oppo and Transsion, preliminary data from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker showed.

The change at the top comes after a tough year that saw consumers going slow on smartphone upgrades and choosing cheaper handsets due to high inflation and economic uncertainties.

A slower-than-expected recovery in China, the world’s largest smartphone market, also weighed on overall phone sales.

Apple and Transsion, which sells Tecno, Infinix and itel brands, were the only two of the top five smartphone vendors to record sales growth last year, even though the overall market declined 3.2% to 1.17 billion units and hit a decade low.


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“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 at IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team.

Phone shipments from Samsung were down 13.6%, while iPhone shipments were up 3.7% last year, according to IDC data.

Samsung focused on the mid- to high-end segment for profitability but lost share in the low-end segment, said Amber Liu of research firm Canalys.

Apple, however, is facing pressure in China from a resurgent Huawei as well as from budget Chinese brands. The iPhone maker is offering discounts of as much as 5% on some models in the country to attract customers.

Microsoft on Friday overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable public company, as Wall Street grew more concerned over the demand for its iPhones and other high-end gadgets.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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