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Apple claims top spot in global smartphone market

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 17 Jan 2024
Multinational tech firm Apple becomes leading smartphone developer in the world.
Multinational tech firm Apple becomes leading smartphone developer in the world.

US-based tech firm Apple has emerged as the world's leading smartphone maker, surpassing its South Korean competitor Samsung.

This is based on preliminary data from the International Data Corporation’s (IDC’) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which shows a shift of power at the top of the largest consumer electronics market.

According to the research firm, the global smartphone market remains challenged, but momentum is moving quickly toward recovery.

The preliminary data shows global smartphone shipments declined 3.2% year-over-year to 1.17 billion units in 2023. While this marks the lowest full-year volume in a decade, growth in the second half of the year has cemented the expected recovery for 2024.

The fourth quarter (4Q23) saw 8.5% year-over-year growth and 326.1 million shipments, higher than the forecast of 7.3% growth.

“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," says Nabila Popal, research director with IDC's Worldwide Tracker team.

“Not only is Apple the only player in the top three to show positive growth annually, but also bags the number one spot annually for the first time ever. All this despite facing increased regulatory challenges and renewed competition from Huawei in China, its largest market. Apple's ongoing success and resilience is in large part due to the increasing trend of premium devices, which now represent over 20% of the market, fuelled by aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing plans.”

Ryan Reith, group vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, adds: “The overall shift in ranking at the top of the market further highlights the intensity of competition within the smartphone market.

“Apple certainly played a part in Samsung's drop in rank, but the overall Android space is diversifying within itself. Huawei is back and making inroads quickly within China, brands like OnePlus, Honor, Google, and others are launching very competitive devices in the lower price range of the high-end. And foldables and increased discussions around AI capabilities on the smartphone are gaining traction. Overall, the smartphone space is headed towards a very interesting time.”