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Samsung is still the world's #1 smartphone vendor, but it's losing ground

How long can Samsung stay at the top with the numbers shifting this way?

Published onOctober 27, 2023

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in hand undecided
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • The latest global smartphone units shipped report shows predictable results, including Samsung at the top.
  • However, Samsung is shipping fewer smartphones while Chinese rivals are shipping more.
  • How long can Samsung stay at the top with these trends?

Aside from a small period of time in 2020, Samsung has been the top dog in the smartphone world globally since 2012. With each annual report for smartphone shipments, Samsung has reliably been the leader. Quarterly reports go up and down, but Samsung keeps its lead in the race.

The latest report from Canalys shows Samsung in the lead this quarter with a 20% market share. This handily beats second-place runner Apple with 17%. Xiaomi (including POCO) is in third with 14%, OPPO (including OnePlus) is in fourth with 9%, and Chinese conglomerate TRANSSION (Tecno, Infinix, and iTel) is in fifth with 9%. All other vendors make up the largest piece of the pie collectively at 31%.

You can see a helpful chart below. However, the real story here is how the chart is changing. It’s been slow, but Samsung is steadily losing ground regarding global smartphone shipments. How long can it stay at the top?

Smartphone units shipped Q3 2023

The chart above shows the growth/losses in market share for the major smartphone vendors when comparing Q3 2023 with the same time in 2022. The biggest winner is clearly TRANSSION, which increased its share by a whopping 40% in just one year.

That’s great news for TRANSSION, but the big loser on the chart is Samsung. The company lost 10% of its share since Q3 2022, making it the only double-digit loser on the chart.

To be fair, even Apple isn’t doing too well this quarter, either. That company lost 6% of its market share, which is a big hit.

What’s really happening here is that Chinese companies are gobbling up shares from Samsung and Apple. TRANSSION and Xiaomi primarily make low-cost smartphones for emerging markets, which is where all the growth is happening now. Apple barely has any presence in this sector, and Samsung has only started taking its presence in emerging markets seriously over the past few years.

Obviously, Samsung isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, all it would take is a combined big win from Apple and an even bigger win from these Chinese rivals to knock Samsung down a peg and put Apple on top. Here’s hoping Samsung doesn’t let that happen.

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