Apple And Samsung Jostle For Top Smartphone Brand And There's A Clear Winner

hero iPhone 15 General Feature Black
According to latest market data presented by the IDC (International Data Corporation), Apple has overtaken Samsung as the world's biggest smartphone brand in 2023 in terms of sales and market share. And this is despite last year being a generally slower year for many of the major players.

Apple has something to be proud of in how it managed to ship 234.6 million smartphones and corner 20.1 percent of the global market share last year. Samsung—which has led the race for the better part of the decade—accounted for 226.6 million Galaxy phones and a 19.4 percent share of the market. In comparison, the South Korean giant moved 262.2 million units (a 13.6 percent drop!) and held a 21.7 percent market share in 2022. 

IDC Smartphone Market Share Q42023
2024 Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker (Credit: IDC)

In third place, Xiaomi has 12.5 percent market share while managing to ship 146 million phones, which is a 4.7 percent drop from the prior year. Fourth place Oppo had a 10 percent drop as well... you get the picture. How Cupertino kept its numbers higher than the rest is impressive, which might be owed to the warm reception of its iPhone 15 with its new rounded-corners design in the regular and Plus models, plus A17 Pro SoC and much-improved camera setup in the Pro models.

Nabila Popal, research director with IDC's Worldwide Tracker team says that "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. All this despite facing increased regulatory challenges and renewed competition from Huawei in China, its largest market. 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."

Another factor that might've affected numbers at the top is the race at the bottom—among the diversified Android space. Google, OnePlus, and even Huawei (once again making huge inroads in China) have been busy launching aggressively-priced product lineups throughout the year, which potentially played a role snatching numbers away from Samsung.