Samsung loses top spot as the world’s biggest smartphone maker to Apple

Google Messages on iPhone 15 Pro Max surrounded by different Android phones
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Apple takes over as the world's largest smartphone maker, surpassing Samsung for the first time in over a decade.
  • The shift is attributed to Apple's consistent increase in shipments, with the company shipping 80.5 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2023.
  • Despite a 3.2% decline in global smartphone shipments to 1.17 billion units in 2023, Apple now commands a significant 20.1% market share, outpacing Samsung at 19.4% and Xiaomi at 12.5%.

Apple has clinched the title of the world's leading smartphone vendor, edging out Samsung for the first time in over a decade, IDC (International Data Corporation) reports.

According to the research firm, Apple snagged the top spot by upping its game in shipping iPhones throughout the year. Based on preliminary data from IDC, Apple shipped 234.6 million iPhones in 2023, securing 20.1% of the market. That's a bump from the 226.3 million the tech giant shipped in 2022.

More importantly, this is the first time ever Apple has officially claimed the title of the world's top smartphone maker. IDC notes that Apple's grand ascent is all thanks to its popularity in emerging markets.

"Not only is Apple the only player in the Top 3 to show positive growth annually, but also bags the number 1 spot annually for the first time ever," said IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team research director Nabila Popal. "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, fueled by aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing plans."

Meanwhile, Samsung took the second spot with a 19.4% market share, shipping 226.6 million units—quite a drop from the 262.2 million in 2022. As for the rest of the pack, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Transsion are trailing behind, shipping 145.9 million, 103.1 million, and 94.9 million smartphones, respectively, in 2023.

IDC report showing the top 5 smartphone makers in 2023

(Image credit: IDC)

In the grand scheme of things, Samsung watched its market share shrivel up by 13.6%. The IDC report highlights that the evolving Android market, marked by companies like Huawei making a comeback and newcomers like Google and OnePlus introducing competitive Android phones, has contributed to Apple's growth and Samsung's decline.

This is a major shake-up. According to IDC, the last time Samsung wasn't ruling the yearly charts was in 2010. Apple wasn't even in the top five back then; Nokia was occupying first place.

On the flip side, the smartphone market took a bit of a dip in 2023, with overall shipments sliding down by 3.2% compared to 2022. That said, IDC says that things perked up in the fourth quarter with 8.5% year-on-year growth, signaling a positive market recovery.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.