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Samsung Overtakes Apple as the #1 Smartphone Maker in the World

Krishi Chowdhary Journalist Author expertise
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  • Apple is no longer the top smartphone maker. It lost its position to Samsung as iPhone shipments fell by 10% in this quarter
  • Between January and March, Apple sold 50.1 million units whereas Samsung sold 60.1 million units.
  • Competition from Android phone makers plus restrictions in China on using Apple devices has contributed to the decreasing Apple sales

Apple Loses Its No.1 Phone Maker Spot to Samsung

On Sunday, a report from research firm IDC showed that the first quarter of the year didn’t go as expected for Apple. Its iPhone sales slipped by about 10% – making it the steepest year-on-year drop the company faced since the lockdown affected its supply chains in 2022.

As a result, the company lost its spot as the #1 phone maker in the world to Samsung.

The reason why this is more concerning for Apple is that the global sales of smartphones increased by 7.8% between January and March, reaching a total of about 289.4 million units.

However, despite overall growth in the market, Apple had a negative quarter. Samsung took home 20.8% of the market share whereas iPhone managed to get only 17.3% of the market.

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.IDC report on smartphone market

Diving Deep Into Apple & Samsung’s Sales 

Apple’s last quarter in 2023 went extremely well. There was a steep boost in its shipments in the December quarter, which meant it was still at the first spot.

However, its shipments started to dip from January. Here are some crucial numbers:

  • An average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg suggested that the company might manage to ship 51.7 million units but it only managed to reach 50.1 million units.
  • To give you a little context, during the same period last year, it managed to ship 55.4 million units.
  • On the contrary, Samsung shipped 60.1 million units this quarter – the company recently launched the Galaxy S24 series which might have contributed to this increase.
  • During the first three weeks of their respective releases, the global Galaxy S24 sales were 8% more than that of the Galaxy S23 series.

Reason For Drop In Sales For Apple

Apple has started to lose its hold on China, which is its third-biggest customer base right now. That’s because China has started to restrict the use of Apple devices in certain government agencies and companies in response to the US restricting the use of Chinese devices.

The relationship between China and the US has reached an all-time worse. Technological advancement has paved the way for more advanced attacks, making these two countries impose several restrictions on tech products developed by the other nation.

Apple received the first impact of these changing rules in the final quarter of 2023 when its shipments in China reduced by 2.1% (compared to a year earlier).

At the same time, Chinese brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi have been gaining market share, which is again hurting iPhone shipments.

In fact, Xiaomi managed to be the third largest phone maker in the world with a total market share of 14.1% during the first quarter. The company made a staggering 40.8 million unit shipments, thanks to its recovering market overseas and renewed interest from teens.

Will Apple Make A Comeback?

Apple hasn’t given up hope. Despite the falling numbers, the company opened a brand new store in Shanghai – China’s financial hub.

On top of that, the company is investing heavily in AI. Starting from acquiring AI startup DarwinAI to updating its beloved Macs with an AI-powered chip, it’s making significant steps.

Plus, the company’s most-awaited Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be held in June this year where it will unveil all the upcoming product updates, including the much-anticipated launch of iOS 18.

All in all, with a tech giant like Apple, and a product as widely used as the iPhone, you just cannot rule out the possibility of a comeback.

What if they put chargers back in the boxes? How about 100W chargers? Wishful thinking, I know, but all great ideas to crank up iPhone’s popularity—and more importantly, it’s value to the users. Maybe that’s what Apple has been ignoring?

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Krishi Chowdhary Journalist

Krishi Chowdhary Journalist

Krishi is an eager Tech Journalist and content writer for both B2B and B2C, with a focus on making the process of purchasing software easier for businesses and enhancing their online presence and SEO.

Krishi has a special skill set in writing about technology news, creating educational content on customer relationship management (CRM) software, and recommending project management tools that can help small businesses increase their revenue.

Alongside his writing and blogging work, Krishi's other hobbies include studying the financial markets and cricket.

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