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Samsung loses top spot as the world's biggest smartphone maker after 12 years

By Shawn Tan - on 17 Jan 2024, 8:24am

Samsung loses top spot as the world's biggest smartphone maker after 12 years

Samsung has been overtaken in the global smartphone market for the first time since 2010 according to IDC and Canalys.

Samsung's reign at the top of the smartphone market ended last year based on two market intelligence reports. 

Preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker indicates Apple shipped 234.6 million units last year which translated to a market share of 20.1%. In comparison, Samsung shipped 226.6 million units in 2023 with a market share of 19.4%.

IDC claims this is an all-time high market share for Apple and a first for the iPhone maker at the top. In addition, Apple is the only phone marker in the top three to see growth year-on-year. On the other hand, this is the first time Samsung lost the top spot since 2010.

Initial estimates by Canalys painted a similar picture; Apple led the pack with a market share of 24% while Samsung took the second position with 17%. 

Apple's rise to the top is driven by the new iPhone 15 launch and "solid ongoing demand" in the high-end segment. Recent data from Counterpoint Research's Market Pulse Service also corroborated the notion that Apple benefited from consumers' growing preference for a premium smartphone.

Samsung's focus on the mid-to-high-end segment for profitability and loss of market share in the low-end segment, led to the South Korean company losing its leadership position.

Both market intelligence firms concluded their reports with a positive outlook for the smartphone market. IDC says the smartphone space is heading towards "a very interesting time" while Canalys states "the market is heading in the right direction".

Source: IDC, Canalys

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