Apple overtakes Samsung as top smartphone seller

Apple has dethroned Samsung Electronics as the largest seller of smartphones in the world, marking the end of Samsung’s 12-year reign at the top. According to a report from International Data Corporation (IDC), Apple commanded a 20% market share in 2023, surpassing Samsung’s 19.4% share. The shift in rankings reflects a challenging year for the smartphone industry, characterized by subdued consumer demand and economic uncertainties.

Market Share and Rankings

  • Apple claimed a 20% market share in 2023, securing its position as the top smartphone seller globally.
  • Samsung, which had held the top spot for 12 years, slipped to second place with a 19.4% market share.
  • China’s Xiaomi, Oppo, and Transsion followed closely behind, with varying market shares, as per IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Factors Influencing the Shift

  • The change in rankings can be attributed to several factors, including subdued consumer demand for smartphone upgrades and a preference for more affordable handsets amid high inflation and economic uncertainties.
  • The slower-than-expected recovery in China, the largest smartphone market globally, also contributed to the overall decline in phone sales.

Performance Amid Market Decline

  • Despite the challenging market conditions, Apple and Transsion emerged as the only two of the top five smartphone vendors to record sales growth in 2023.
  • The overall smartphone market experienced a decline of 3.2%, reaching a decade-low of 1.17 billion units.

Insights from IDC

  • Nabila Popal, research director at IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team, highlighted the strong growth of low-end Android players like Transsion and Xiaomi in the second half of 2023, driven by rapid expansion in emerging markets.
  • However, Popal emphasized that Apple emerged as the clear winner, attributing its success to various factors that propelled its growth despite the challenging market conditions.

Future Outlook

  • The shift in rankings underscores the dynamic nature of the smartphone industry, where market leaders can change based on various factors such as consumer preferences, economic conditions, and technological advancements.
  • As the industry continues to evolve, companies like Apple and Samsung will need to adapt to changing market dynamics and consumer demands to maintain their competitive positions.


Apple’s ascent to the top of the smartphone market reflects its resilience and ability to navigate challenging market conditions. The shift in rankings highlights the competitive nature of the industry and the importance of innovation and adaptability in staying ahead. As the smartphone market continues to evolve, companies will need to remain agile and responsive to emerging trends and consumer preferences to sustain their growth and relevance.

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