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Samsung Regains Top Smartphone Maker Slot, As Apple Records Greater Fall In Shipments In 1Q24


Preliminary data collated by US based premier market intelligence and research organization International Data Corporation (IDC) for the Jan-March 2024 quarter shows that Korean smartphone giant Samsung has once again reasserted its top position in the smartphone market worldwide, dethroning iPhone maker Apple, which had managed to capture the top spot at the end of 2023.

IDC, headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts, shared this information from its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker in a handout posted on its website on Monday.

Apple’s global smartphone shipments reportedly fell by 9.6% in the quarter, from 55.4 million units in the same period last year to 50.1 million units. Samsung’s shipments also fell during this period, but by just 0.7% to 60.1 million units. Apple’s global market share fell to 17.3% from 20.7% a year ago, while Samsung’s fell to 20.8% from 22.5% amid rising sales of Chinese companies Xiaomi and Transsion.

Xiaomi, the third largest smartphone shipper in the quarter, recorded almost 34% rise in sales to 40.8 million units, while Transsion shipments leaped 85% to 28.5 million. OPPO overtook Vivo to claim the fifth spot in the first quarter.

However, striking a note of optimism, the IDC handout noted that the global smartphone shipments increased 7.8% year over year to 289.4 million units in the first quarter of 2024 (1Q24). “While the industry is not completely out of the woods, as macroeconomic challenges remain in many markets, this marks the third consecutive quarter of shipment growth, a strong indicator that a recovery is well underway,” it added.

Ryan Reith, group vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers, shared: “As expected, smartphone recovery continues to move forward with market optimism slowly building among the top brands.”

While IDC expects Samsung and Apple to maintain their hold on the high end of the market, it envisions that the resurgence of Huawei in China, as well as notable gains from Xiaomi, Transsion, OPPO/OnePlus, and Vivo will likely have both OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) looking for areas to expand and diversify. In its opinion as the recovery progresses, the top companies can be expected to gain share, as the smaller brands struggle for positioning.

IDC’s research director of its Worldwide Tracker team Nabila Popal adds: “The smartphone market is emerging from the turbulence of the last two years both stronger and changed. Firstly, we continue to see growth in value and average selling prices (ASPs) as consumers opt for more expensive devices knowing they will hold onto their devices longer. Secondly, there is a shift in power among the Top 5 companies, which will likely continue as market players adjust their strategies in a post-recovery world.

“Xiaomi is coming back strong from the large declines experienced over the past two years and Transsion is becoming a stable presence in the Top 5 with aggressive growth in international markets. In contrast, while the Top 2 players both saw negative growth in the first quarter, it seems Samsung is in a stronger position overall than they were in recent quarters,” she concluded.

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