Samsung becomes top smartphone brand amid market struggles

Samsung has reportedly surpassed Apple in terms of global smartphone market share, with the company being the only one to have achieved a quarter-on-quarter recovery, according to a recent report by Canalys. Despite this achievement, the overall smartphone market has experienced a decline in shipments over the past year, and the latest figures reveal that it hasn’t had a great start in early 2023.

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In the first quarter of 2023 (Q1 2023), Samsung managed to take the top spot for smartphone shipments, boasting a market share of 22%. This was followed closely by Apple, with a market share of 21%. Xiaomi came in third place, with a market share of 11%, with Oppo and Vivo trailing behind with 10% and 8%, respectively.

The comparison of global smartphone market shares between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023 is summarised in the table below, using data from Canalys.

BrandQ1 2022Q1 2023
Samsung20%22%
Apple23%21%
Xiaomi11%11%
Oppo10%10%
Vivo9%8%
Other28%28%

It is important to note that despite Samsung’s victory, overall smartphone shipments fell by 12% in Q1 2023. However, according to Canalys analyst Sanyam Chaurasia, the decline was expected. “The smartphone market’s decline in the first quarter of 2023 was within expectations throughout the industry,” says Chaurasia.

Chaurasia also pointed out that local macroeconomic conditions have continued to hinder vendors’ investments and operations in several markets. “Despite price cuts and heavy promotions from vendors, consumer demand remained sluggish, particularly in the low-end segment due to high inflation affecting consumer confidence and spending,” he added.

As a result of slowed end-user demand, a wave of destocking occurred across the smartphone supply chain, with vendors resorting to cautious production techniques to maintain a low level of sell-in volume. This, in turn, had a long-term negative impact on the operational performance of the component supply chain, according to Chaurasia.