Apple shines bright in a struggling smartphone market


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Apple dominated the smartphone market in Q1 2023.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Shipments in the global smartphone market declined by 14% YoY in Q1 2023 to 280.2 million units. Despite the slowdown, Samsung replaced Apple as the world’s largest smartphone maker during the period.

Apple, however, continued its dominance, with iPhones accounting for nearly half the revenue generated by the smartphone market in Q1 2023. The company also took the lion’s share of the market’s profit.

Apple dominated the struggling smartphone market in Q1 2023

Smartphone sales showed signs of a slowdown in Q4 2022. Counterpoint Research’s report on smartphone shipments in Q1 2023 reveals that the slowdown has only worsened. In total, 280.2 million smartphones were shipped in Q1 2023, down from 326.4 million a year ago.

The report pegs Apple to have shipped 58 million iPhones during the quarter, so the fall in shipments was not as bad as expected. Samsung edged out the Cupertino giant with a reported shipment of 60.6 million smartphones. The launch of the company’s flagship Galaxy S23 series helped push this number up, though YoY, it saw a 19% decline in shipments. Samsung’s ASP also increased to $340 during the period.

Q1 2023 Global smartphone sales figures from Counterpoint Research.
Apple recorded its highest-ever Q1 share in the smartphone market in 2023.
Photo: Counterpoint Research

Samsung and Apple combined accounted for a staggering 96% of the total smartphone market’s revenue in Q1 2023. Apple, however, is far ahead of the competition and accounts for 72% of the smartphone market’s operating profit.

Despite battling an economic slowdown and inflation, Apple only reported a 3% revenue drop in Q1 2023. For comparison, the entire smartphone industry is doing much worse, with Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo reporting a double-digit revenue decline.

Smartphone sales are unlikely to pick up anytime soon

Smartphone shipments will decline further in the next two quarters, with all companies struggling. However, Apple is better positioned to withstand a slowdown than its rivals.

Counterpoint’s Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “Apple is able to weather economic and other fluctuations better than its rivals while enjoying unflinching loyalty.” This is due to Gen Z’s strong preference for Apple products, the ecosystem stickiness, and the long-lasting life of its devices.


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