In the ever-competitive global smartphone market, both Apple and Samsung experienced a decline in market share in the third quarter of this year. According to the latest data from research firm Gartner, global smartphone sales fell 9.6% compared to the same period last year, causing these tech giants to lose ground.
First and foremost, Apple had a tough quarter with its iPhone sales falling by 0.6%, resulting in a decrease in market share from 11.8% to 11.1%. Despite the introduction of the highly anticipated iPhone 13 series, which launched during the same quarter, sales did not meet expectations. Factors contributing to Apple’s decline includes supply chain disruptions and increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers offering more affordable alternatives.
Similarly, Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, experienced a decline in market share from 20.4% to 17.6%. The company’s smartphone sales were affected by a shortage of semiconductors and intense competition from Chinese rivals like Xiaomi and Oppo. Additionally, Samsung faced challenges in the premium segment as consumers increasingly turned to more affordable options.
The global pandemic has had a considerable impact on the smartphone industry, with supply chain disruptions and economic uncertainties affecting consumer demand. Moreover, the ongoing global chip shortage has further hindered production capacities, forcing manufacturers to prioritize high-end models and limiting the availability of budget-friendly devices.
In contrast, several Chinese smartphone manufacturers, including Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo, experienced significant growth in market share during the third quarter. Their success can be attributed to competitive pricing strategies, offering feature-rich devices at affordable prices, coupled with aggressive marketing campaigns.
Although Apple and Samsung are facing challenges in the market, both companies are expected to bounce back in the coming quarters. Apple’s recent iPhone 13 series and Samsung’s upcoming flagship devices are anticipated to generate renewed interest and drive sales. However, the competition is fierce, and with new players continuously entering the market, it remains to be seen how these giants will regain their lost market share.
Key learning points
- Apple and Samsung lost market share to rival brands as total global smartphone sales fell 8% from a year earlier to the lowest level in the third quarter in a decade.
- The decline comes amid a slow economic recovery that is impacting consumer demand, although a long streak of year-on-year sales declines is expected to be broken in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to sales of the iPhone 15, according to research firm Counterpoint.
- Brands outside the top five saw their market share increase in the third quarter compared to recent years, which Counterpoint says is indicative of “the changing dynamics and opportunities in the global smartphone market.”
Global smartphone sales fell 8% in the third quarter from a year earlier, amid a “slower-than-expected recovery in consumer demand,” with both Apple (AAPL) and Samsung losing market share to rival brands during the period , according to Counterpoint Research.
The July-September sales figure represented the lowest third-quarter level in a decade, the technology market research firm said, noting that global smartphone sales have now fallen for nine consecutive quarters on an annual basis.
However, Counterpoint expects this trend of declines to come to a halt in the fourth quarter as sales benefit from the full impact of the recently launched iPhone 15, the festival season in India, Bachelor’s Day on November 11 in China, Christmas and year-end promotions later in the quarter. Counterpoint noted that sales in the third quarter were higher than in the second quarter and that a good performance in September, despite the limited availability of the new iPhones, gives reason for optimism.
Global market leader Samsung saw its share of the global smartphone market fall from 21% a year earlier to 20% in the third quarter, while revenue fell by 13%. Apple’s share of the global smartphone market also fell 1 percentage point to 16%, while revenue fell 9%.
The top five global brands – which also include Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo – together accounted for 64% of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2023, up from around 68% in 2022 and 2021, according to Counterpoint’s data. The Chinese companies recorded even sharper declines in smartphone sales than Samsung and Apple as they “worked to strengthen their positions in key markets such as China and India, while continuing to slow expansion efforts in overseas markets,” according to the report.
Outside the top five, Chinese manufacturers HONOR, Huawei and Transsion Group all gained market share and saw their sales rise year-on-year in the third quarter, the Counterpoint report said. According to the research firm, “The recovery of emerging markets ahead of the global market and the growth of brands outside the top five indicate the changing dynamics and opportunities in the global smartphone market.”
Despite the expected sales recovery for the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter, total full-year sales for 2023 could reach a decade-low, Counterpoint said, citing changing replacement patterns in emerging markets.