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Samsung Emerges as World’s Largest Phone Seller as Apple’s China Sales Decline

The South Korean company has reclaimed the top spot amidst the largest decline in iPhone sales since the Covid-19 lockdowns. Apple has surrendered its position as the world’s leading mobile phone seller following a significant drop in sales, allowing South Korean rival Samsung to once again dominate the global market share.

Samsung had held the title of the largest mobile phone seller for 12 years until the end of 2023 when sales of Apple’s iPhone models surpassed it.

According to research firm IDC, global smartphone shipments rose by 8% to 289.4 million units during January-March. Samsung secured a 20.8% market share, outpacing Apple’s 17.3% share, which has been impacted by slowing sales in China.

According to IDC, Apple shipped 50.1 million iPhones in the first quarter, down from the 55.4 million units shipped during the same period last year. This marked the most significant decline in iPhone sales since the global supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2022.

The decrease in Apple sales, despite a expanding global market, was partially attributed to challenges in China. Local competitors like Xiaomi and Huawei have intensified competition for both Apple and Samsung. Additionally, the Chinese government has taken steps to prohibit devices manufactured by foreign companies in workplaces.

Apple remains the leading force in the premium segment of the worldwide smartphone market, with iPhone sales representing its cornerstone product. As of Friday, the company’s market valuation stood at $2.7 trillion (£2.16 trillion), far surpassing all other smartphone manufacturers and trailing only Microsoft, which has benefited from anticipations of an artificial intelligence boom.

Nevertheless, the ongoing shifts in leadership within the market underscore the fierce rivalry among smartphone manufacturers vying for market dominance. Xiaomi, China’s foremost smartphone manufacturer, secured the third position with a market share of 14.1% during the first quarter.

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