Apple’s iPhone sales slide as Samsung moves into No. 1 spot

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)

The battle between Apple and Samsung seems like it will never end. When one company appears to have the smartphone market locked down, the other swoops in and usurps the top spot. Apple is seeing a sharp decrease in iPhone sales, which has allowed Samsung to remove Apple from the number-one spot in the worldwide market for smartphones shipped.

According to research firm IDC, Samsung was able to regain the number one ranking in the first quarter because it launched the new Galaxy S24 handsets. Apple, on the other hand, is in a phase where the current iPhone 15 is getting a little old while potential buyers wait for the iPhone 16 to launch later in 2024. The news seems to have minimally hurt Apple's stock price, with the shares being down just 1% after it first broke.

In total, Samsung shipped 60.1 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2024, which is very close to the 60.5 million phones moved in Q1 2023. 

Apple's results were a bit uglier. The company saw a 9.6% drop in sales compared to last year. It made 50.1 million shipments compared to 2023's 55.4 million. 

For market share in the entire world during the first quarter, Samsung had 20.8% to Apple's 17.3%. 

IDC expects Android phones to continue to maintain the lead over Apple going forward. "While Apple has been super resilient and seen a lot of growth in shipments and share over the last few years, it will be a challenge for it to maintain the pace of growth and the peak share it saw in 2023. As the market recovers further in 2024, IDC expects Android to grow much faster than Apple," said IDC analyst Nabila Popal.

Another interesting wrinkle in the report says that Chinese firms like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Transsion (maker of Tecno and Infinix phones) made gains in the market, which could be eating into Apple's sales. 

"There is a shift in power among the Top 5 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 5 with aggressive growth in international markets," noted Popal. 

While not ideal for Apple, the ICD report says that the overall smartphone market grew by 7.8% during Q1 2024, which is good for the industry as a whole. In total, 289.4 million handsets shipped, which shows excellent growth overall. The research firm also noted that consumers are buying more expensive phones, knowing they will hold onto their devices longer. 

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Dave LeClair
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Dave LeClair is the Senior News Editor for Tom's Guide, keeping his finger on the pulse of all things technology. He loves taking the complicated happenings in the tech world and explaining why they matter. Whether Apple is announcing the next big thing in the mobile space or a small startup advancing generative AI, Dave will apply his experience to help you figure out what's happening and why it's relevant to your life.