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Samsung retakes top spot in Q1 as usual, but it has reason to be very worried

Samsung usually retakes the lead from Apple in Q1, but this might not be assured anymore.
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Published onApril 18, 2023

samsung galaxy logo closeup
TL;DR
  • Samsung was the top global smartphone brand for Q1 2023, according to a new market report.
  • The company typically retakes the top spot from Apple in Q1 each year.
  • The gap between Samsung and Apple in this quarter is much closer than before, though.

The global smartphone market endured a tough time in 2022, and it looks like this performance is continuing in Q1 2023.

Tracking firm Canalys published its global smartphone market report for Q1 2023, finding that the market was down 12% compared to a year ago. The firm noted that this was the fifth consecutive decline for the global market.

In saying so, Canalys noted that this performance was to be expected, citing factors like high inflation for consumers and “local macroeconomic conditions” affecting smartphone vendors.

Canalys Q1 2023 market share smartphones

Samsung retook the top spot from Apple for the quarter, with a 22% share of the market. Meanwhile, Apple secured a 21% share during the quarter.

This situation might be cause for concern at Samsung though. The Korean brand typically retakes the number one spot from Apple in Q1 each year, as demand subsides from iPhone launches in Q3 or Q4. But the gap between Samsung and Apple in Q1 shrunk in a major way compared to a year ago. By comparison, Q1 2022 saw Samsung hit 24% of the market, while Apple had 18%.

Do you think Samsung will be number one a year from now?

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It’s also worth noting that Apple suffered from major iPhone production woes in Q4 2022, affecting its iPhone 14 Pro series. This suggests that the Cupertino company could’ve emerged on top in Q1 2023 if it didn’t have production challenges. We, therefore, have to wonder whether Samsung can hold on to the number one spot in Q1 2024.

Nevertheless, Xiaomi held on to third place with 11% of the market. However, its podium spot isn’t assured owing to OPPO being in fourth place with a 10% share. Vivo rounded out the top five with an 8% share.