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Apple becomes world’s most popular smartphone maker for first time ever

iPhone maker toppled Samsung after a decade-long run at the top

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 17 January 2024 14:29 GMT
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Ms Popal attributed Apple’s success to the growing popularity of premium devices, which now represent over 20 per cent of the market
Ms Popal attributed Apple’s success to the growing popularity of premium devices, which now represent over 20 per cent of the market (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Apple has overtaken Samsung to become the world’s most popular smartphone maker for the first time.

The iPhone maker shipped more than 80 million devices in 2023, according to a new report from market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), which saw its overall market share reach 24.7 per cent.

The all-time high market share for Apple pushes it above Samsung, which has held the top spot since 2010.

“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, a research director at IDC.

“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.”

Ms Popal attributed Apple’s success to the growing popularity of premium devices, which now represent over 20 per cent of the market.

The latest data comes amid declining consumer interest in smartphones, according to data from market analyst firm Canalys. Global demand for smartphones fell to its lowest point in a decade last year, the latest shipments figures revealed.

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IDC’s report was published ahead of Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event, which will see the South Korean electronics giant unveil its latest range of smartphones.

Samsung is facing increasing competition from other Android devices, with Google, Honor, OnePlus and Xiaomi all offering alternatives at various price levels.

“The overall shift in ranking at the top of the market further highlights the intensity of competition within the smartphone market,” said Ryan Reith, who works within IDC’s Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers department.

“Apple certainly played a part in Samsung’s drop in rank, but the overall Android space is diversifying within itself... Overall, the smartphone space is headed towards a very interesting time.”

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