Samsung Reclaims Lead as Apple’s iPhone Shipments Fall in Q1

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. has outperformed its US rival Apple Inc. in phone making, as the iPhone maker lost its lead after a shipment drop in the first quarter of this year.

Data from a Massachusetts-based research firm showed that Apple’s iPhone shipments in the three months ending March 31 stood at 50.1 million units, sharply falling 9.6% year-over-year (YoY) from the 55.4 million units shipped in the same quarter the year ago.

In contrast, Samsung’s shipments declined 0.7% YoY to 60.2 million units in the period, which also saw the launch of the Suwon-headquartered company’s new Galaxy S24 smartphone lineup.

Smartphone shipments worldwide rose 7.8% YoY to 289.4 million units in the first quarter of 2024, with Samsung reclaiming first place at a 20.8% market share.

Cupertino-based Apple returned to the no.2 spot with a 17.3% market share, while Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp. placed third with a 14.1% market share.

Apple Challenged by Chinese, Android Smartphone Makers

Apple’s steep sales dive followed a solid performance in the fiscal first quarter ending December 30 when it climbed to the top spot as the world’s largest smartphone seller, ending Samsung’s 12-year lead.

The US company was second once again as Android and China’s smartphone makers, such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., observed increased market share.

Between January 28 and February 17, Samsung saw international sales of the Galaxy S24 series surge 8.0%, compared to 2023 sales of the Galaxy S23 models.

Chinese shipments of the iPhone maker, on the other hand, slipped 2.1% in the fourth quarter of last year, underlining Apple’s struggles in its third largest market.

The firm’s devices have been subject to usage restrictions from several companies and government agencies in the country. The US government also employed a similar move on Chinese apps such as TikTok due to security reasons.

Eyes are on Apple’s artificial intelligence (AI) efforts. The company has yet to provide specifics about incorporating AI into its products.

Samsung and Apple are expected to stay at the high end of the market. However, Huawei’s resurgence in China and the growth of other Chinese smartphone makers might lead the two to explore other possible areas for expansion.

Both companies’ growth was glum in the first quarter, but the South Korean firm’s overall standing appeared to be stronger than in recent quarters.

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