iPhone loses to Samsung in battle for the best-selling smartphone, new figures show

a man walks outside of an apple store with a branded shopping bag

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Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 17/04/2024

- 09:32

Apple saw shipments of its smartphones drop by 10%

  • Samsung has regained its position as the biggest-selling phone brand
  • Apple saw shipments of its iPhone dip by 10% at the start of the year

Apple has lost its crown as the biggest phone brand on the planet. The iPhone manufacturer only managed to clinch the top spot from Samsung last year — but in the last few months, which saw the launch of the Galaxy S24, S24+, and Galaxy S24 Ultra — the South Korean brand has regained the gold medal position.

Global smartphone shipments increased 7.8% compared to the same period last year, but iPhone shipments dropped by nearly 10%, quarterly data published by research firm IDC confirmed.

samsung galaxy s24, galaxy s24 plus, and galaxy s24 ultra pictured side by side on a dark background

Samsung announced the latest entry into its flagship Galaxy S series back in January, with slightly bigger screens, bigger batteries, and a focus on AI features, known as Galaxy AI


That dip was enough for Samsung to regain the top spot, with a market share of 20.8%, ahead of iPhone maker Apple, which is second at 17.3% – after the two firms had switched places in the final three months of 2023.

Earlier this month, Samsung issued an update forecasting that its profits for the first three months of 2024 will be more than 10x higher than the same period last year, in part driven by strong smartphone sales.

According to IDC figures, the resurgence of Chinese brands such as Huawei is driving the rise in overall phone shipments, but also taking market share from Apple.

Another Chinese brand, Xiaomi, is in third spot on 14.1% market share, with its shipments having risen nearly 34% on the same period last year, while Transsion and Oppo – two more Chinese firms – completed the top five.

The figures suggest that total phone shipments for the first quarter of 2024 were 289.4 million, up from 268.5 million in the same period last year.

Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s worldwide tracker team, said: “The smartphone market is emerging from the turbulence of the last two years both stronger and changed. Firstly, we continue to see growth in value and average selling prices (ASPs) as consumers opt for more expensive devices knowing they will hold on to their devices longer.

“Secondly, there is a shift in power among the top five companies, which will likely continue as market players adjust their strategies in a post-recovery world. Xiaomi is coming back strong from the large declines experienced over the past two years and Transsion is becoming a stable presence in the top five with aggressive growth in international markets.


“In contrast, while the top two players both saw negative growth in the first quarter, it seems Samsung is in a stronger position overall than they were in recent quarters.”

Additional Reporting By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

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