iPhone grabs top spot in global phone market for the first time


iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max helped push Apple to the top of the global phone market.
Photo: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

No company sold more smartphones than Apple in 2023, according to a market-research firm. iPhone shipments grew last year and outnumbered Samsung’s Androids.

It’s a milestone Apple never reached before.

2023 iPhone shipments beat all rivals

Apple and Samsung dominate the world phone market. Just those two account for about 40% of all handsets sold anywhere. And a strong year for iPhone pushed the company ahead of its perennial rival.

“Not only is Apple the only player in the Top 3 to show positive growth annually, but also bags the number 1 spot annually for the first time ever,” said Nabila Popal, an analyst with IDC.

There were 235 million iPhone units shipped in 2023, according to the analysts, giving Apple 20.1% of the global phone market. That’s a 3.7% increase over 2022 shipments.

Samsung shipped 227 million units in the same period, for 19.4% of the world market. Its shipments plunged 13.6% year over year.

Apple did especially well in the fourth quarter of 2023 — shipments were up 11.6% over the same period of the previous year, giving it 24.7% of global shipments.

And Apple’s top-of-the-line models were the most popular, according to a separate report from a trusted analyst.

And the rest

There are other competitors in the global smartphone competition, of course. But all are much smaller.

“While we saw some strong growth from low-end Android players like Transsion and Xiaomi in the second half of 2023, stemming from rapid growth in emerging markets, the biggest winner is clearly Apple,” noted IDC’s Popal.

Global phone shipments 2023
Apple lead the world in phone shipments in 2023 (click for larger image)
Chart: IDC


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.