Last year, for the first time ever, Apple was the top smartphone manufacturer in the world  according to IDC and Canalys. The latter reported that Apple had shipped 229.2 million iPhone units in 2023 compared to the 225.4 million Galaxy handsets delivered by Samsung. In 2022, Samsung outsold Apple by 25 million units for the entire year. Last year, Apple saw the iPhone’s global market share rise from 19% to 20% while Samsung’s declined from 22% to 20%.

According to The Korea Times, Counterpoint Research says that strong sales of Galaxy phones in the U.S. and Europe this year have allowed Samsung to take back the throne in the worldwide smartphone market. In February, Samsung sold 19.69 million handsets giving it a 20% global market share. Apple sold 17.41 million iPhone units during the same period giving the company an 18% slice of the global smartphone pie.

Researcher Kim Rok-ho, who works for Hana Securities, said, “It is encouraging that Samsung regained the top spot by achieving a 20 percent global share with a positive response to the Galaxy S24 series in the U.S. and Europe.” Samsung dominated Europe in February with a 34% share of the smartphone market on that continent. In the U.S., where the iPhone traditionally leads the way, Samsung saw its share rise to 36% from 20% in January. Apple still was the U.S. smartphone leader although the iPhone saw its market share decline in the States from 64% in January to 48% in February.

Helping turn things around this year for Samsung was the January release of the flagship Galaxy S24 line. By the end of February, 6.53 million units of the series had been sold thanks in part to new AI features including the ability of the phones to offer users real-time language translation during a phone conversation, and Circle to Search. With the latter, an item circled on the screen by the user is run through Google Search.

Last year, IDC said that Apple had a leading 20.1% share of the global smartphone market which topped Samsung’s 19.4% which had declined from 2022’s leading 21.7%.

Alan, an ardent smartphone enthusiast and a veteran writer at PhoneArena since 2009, has witnessed and chronicled the transformative years of mobile technology. Owning iconic phones from the original iPhone to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, he has seen smartphones evolve into a global phenomenon. Beyond smartphones, Alan has covered the emergence of tablets, smartwatches, and smart speakers.

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