Apple has seized the leading position in the global smartphone market, surpassing Samsung for the first time in 12 years, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC). Apple’s market share exceeded 20%, accounting for more than a fifth of smartphones shipped in the past year. The American tech giant demonstrated positive annual growth, selling over 234 million phones, making it the top player in the market. In contrast, Samsung secured a 19.4% market share.

The smartphone market faced challenges in 2022, with nearly 1.2 billion smartphones sold, reflecting a decline of over 3% compared to the previous year. This represents the lowest sales volume in a decade, attributed to economic challenges and high interest rates, leading consumers to tighten spending. Despite the overall downturn, Apple emerged as a standout performer.

Apple’s success is attributed to various factors, including positive annual growth, trade-in offers for old models, and interest-free financing plans. These strategies, along with premium device demand, contributed to Apple’s significant market share gain. The IDC noted that Apple faced regulatory challenges and renewed competition from Huawei in China, its largest market, yet still secured the number one spot.

Samsung, traditionally a leader in memory chips, smartphones, and televisions, faced disappointing results and a drop in profits. Global demand for consumer electronics remained weak, and Samsung encountered competition from more affordable Android models, particularly from companies like Transsion and Xiaomi. These brands benefitted from price-conscious consumers and emerging markets.

The smartphone market is entering a transformative phase, marked by increased competition among Android providers, the rise of foldable phones, and growing emphasis on artificial intelligence capabilities. The IDC described the current landscape as a “very interesting time” for the smartphone market, with evolving consumer preferences shaping the industry’s trajectory.