Apple iPhone first-quarter shipments sink as Chinese challengers rise; Samsung regains top spot


TOPSHOT – The Apple iPhone 15 series is displayed for sale at The Grove Apple retail store on release day in Los Angeles, California, on September 22, 2023. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Patrick T. Fallon | Afp | Getty Images

Apple iPhone shipments plunged nearly 10% globally in the first quarter of 2024, pressured by double-digit growth in shipments by Chinese challengers Xiaomi and Transsion, a report from International Data Corporation showed.

Apple shipped 50.1 million units In the first quarter, down 9.6% from the 55.4 million shipments in the same period a year earlier, according to the IDC report. Among the top five smartphone brands in the report, Apple recorded the sharpest decline year on year.

Samsung regained the top spot in the first quarter, after losing the crown to Apple last year, with a 20.8% market share, shipping nearly the same number of units as last year at 60.1 million. Its market share was 22.5% in the first quarter of 2023.

Apple, which surpassed Samsung as the largest smartphone maker in 2023, saw its market share drop to 17.3% from 20.7% a year earlier.

“While IDC expects these two companies to maintain their hold on the high end of the market, the resurgence of Huawei in China, as well as notable gains from Xiaomi, Transsion, OPPO/OnePlus, and vivo will likely have both OEMs looking for areas to expand and diversify,” said Ryan Reith, group vice president at IDC Worldwide Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers.

Xiaomi’s shipments rose 33.8% to 40.8 million units in the first quarter, while Transsion saw an 84.9% jump to 28.5 million units.

Shenzhen-based smartphone maker Transsion, which owns the Tecno, Itel, and Infinix brands, has quietly become the world’s fifth-largest smartphone manufacturer, according to several reports.

In terms of market share, Xiaomi (14.1%), Transsion (9.9%) and OPPO (8.7%) bagged the third, fourth and fifth spot, respectively, based on first-quarter shipments, the IDC report revealed.

“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,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Tracker team.

Chinese smartphone giant OPPO’s shipments, however, sank 8.5% to 25.2 million in the first quarter.

Tech giant Huawei and its spinoff, Honor, did not make it to the top five list. They were the best-performing smartphone brands for the first six weeks of 2024, according to Counterpoint Research.

Apple has been facing pressure in China, particularly from Huawei, whose consumer business is resurging after the launch of its Mate 60 smartphone.

Globally, total first-quarter smartphone shipments rose 7.8% year over year to 289.4 million units, recording the third consecutive quarter of shipment growth, according to IDC.

This is “a strong indicator that a recovery is well underway” despite macroeconomic challenges, the research firm said.

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