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Apple inches closer to Samsung in global phone shipments during Q3

Statistics can lie depending on various factors. Take the global smartphone market which declined by 1% year-over-year during the third quarter of 2023. On the other hand, looking at the numbers on a sequential basis from Q2 to Q3, worldwide smartphone shipments rose by a double-digit percentage. During the quarter, Samsung released the new iterations of its foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5. Even with the new models shipping in August, Sammy’s global smartphone market share declined from 22% to 20% on an annual basis.

Apple moved a single percentage point closer to Samsung as its global smartphone market share declined from the 18% it had during last year’s third quarter to the 17% slice of the worldwide smartphone pie it owned during this year’s third quarter. The third calendar quarter is typically a big one for Apple since that’s when it starts shipping the latest iPhone series. Third place belonged to Xiaomi as it held on to the 14% share of the worldwide smartphone that it captured during last year’s third quarter.

With 9% of the global smartphone market, Oppo was fourth as the manufacturer lost 1 percentage point in market share from the 10% it owned during the same quarter last year. The only individual brand in the top five to show a solid gain in Q3 shipments year-over-year was TRANSSION. The company saw its share rise a solid 50% from 6% to 9% although it was starting from a smaller base.

Amber Liu, Analyst at Canalys, said, “Huawei and Apple’s new launches electrified the market this quarter, outshining many other vendors’ flagship series renewals. Huawei’s new Mate series, featuring the latest Kirin chipset, has drawn enthusiastic consumer response in Mainland China. Operators are racing to stock up on Huawei devices to meet the surging demand.”

Liu added, “Meanwhile, Apple is bolstering its new iPhone 15 series with much-enhanced performance and features to continuously stimulate demand. On the other hand, while Samsung is reducing exposure in the entry-level segment to focus on profitability, Xiaomi and TRANSSION have swiftly capitalized on the rebound in the emerging markets with competitive products and channel engagements. These short-term wins might turn into more sustainable long-term success if Xiaomi and TRANSSION play their cards well.”

Another Canalys analyst, Toby Zhu, said that vendors should remain wary about the rebounding global smartphone market.

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