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iPhone sales drop 10% as Samsung steadies and Chinese rivals grow

Apple's iPhone 15 Pro (left) and Samsung's Galaxy S24

New figures show that Apple's global iPhone sales declined by over five million in the first quarter of 2024, compared to the same time in 2023.

In March, it was reported that Apple had cut its iPhone orders because of reduced demand in China, but IDC now says that the decline is worldwide. The research firm also says that of all the major smartphone makers, Apple had the sharpest year on year decline.

IDC's research claims that Apple shipped 50.1 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2024. That's down 9.6% from the 55.4 million shipped in the same quarter in 2023.

Samsung, in comparison, shipped 60.1 million phones in this period, which is approximately the same year on year. Samsung saw out the quarter with 20.8% market share, down from last year's 22.5%, while Apple ended with 17.3%, down from 20.7% in Q1 2023.

Bar graph showing market share trends for Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Transsion, and OPPO among top 5 smartphone companies in 2024 Q1. Source: IDC 2024.
Q1 2024 smartphone market share (Source: IDC)

"While Apple managed to capture the top spot at the end of 2023, Samsung successfully reasserted itself as the leading smartphone provider in the first quarter," said IDC's Ryan Reith. "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."

Previously, IDC has noted that Apple's iPhone has generally continued to gain market share as demand for smartphones has been continually declining for some years. The company now says that the "smartphone market is emerging from the turbulence of the last two years both stronger and changed."

IDC expects to see local brands Xiaomi and Transsion grow, while it says that Samsung is now in "a stronger position overall than they were in recent quarters."

First-quarter sales do tend to favor Samsung over Apple, however. While Apple launches new iPhones in September to capture holiday season sales, Samsung typically announces its new models in the first quarter.