iPhone shipments take a surprise nosedive


The iPhone 15 Pro line comes in four finishes: black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium and natural titanium.
A surge in iPhone shipments in 2023 seems to have lead to a decline in demand in early 2024.
Photo: Apple

After a stellar 2023, iPhone shipments dropped 9.6% year over year in the first quarter of 2024, according to a market-research firm.

Archrival Samsung also saw a decline in smartphone shipments, but not as large as Apple’s. On the other hand, two Chinese phone-makers saw extremely strong growth last quarter.

iPhone and Samsung shipments battle for top spot

Apple enjoyed a brilliant 2023, capturing the top spot in shipments for the first time ever, according to IDC. iPhone also led in the fourth quarter, with almost 25% of the world market — way ahead of Samsung’s 16% of the market.

But the shoe is on the other foot in 2024. Apple lost out to Samsung in the first quarter of the year, according to new research from IDC.

Cupertino shipped 50.1 million iPhones in the January-through-March period, down from 55.4 million in the same quarter of 2023. Samsung smartphone shipments dropped 0.7% year over year, and it shipped 60.1 million devices.

“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 Ryan Reith, an IDC analyst.

Estimates from IDC and other market-research firms are necessary because Apple (like other device-makers) does not announce how many smartphones it sells.

A considerable share of the slip in iPhone demand reportedly happened in China.

Don’t overlook Xiaomi and Transsion

Two companies that are virtually unknown in the United States each took a significant chunk of the smartphone market in Q1. Xiaomi shipped 40.8 million Androids while Transsion shipped 28.5 million.

“There is a shift in power among the Top 5 companies, which will likely continue as market players adjust their strategies in a post-recovery world,” said IDC analyst Nabila Popal. “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.”


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.