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Apple loses top smartphone spot to Samsung as iPhone sales drop

Apple’s smartphone shipments plunged about 10% in the first quarter of the year, hurt by intensifying competition by Android smartphone makers, leaving the top market spot for South Korean Samsung, data from research firm IDC showed on Sunday.

Global smartphone shipments increased 7.8% to 289.4 million units during January-March, with Samsung claiming a 20.8% market share and clinching the top phone maker spot from Apple.

The iPhone maker’s steep sales decline comes after its strong performance in the December quarter when it overtook Samsung as the world’s No.1 phone maker. It’s back to the second spot, with a 17.3% market share, as Chinese brands such as Huawei gain market share.

Xiaomi, one of China’s top smartphone makers, occupied the third position with a market share of 14.1% during the first quarter of 2024.

South Korea’s Samsung, which launched its latest flagship smartphone lineup – Galaxy S24 series – at the beginning of the year, shipped more than 60 million phones during the period.

Data provider Counterpoint previously said that global sales of the Galaxy S24 smartphones jumped 8% compared to last year’s Galaxy S23 series during their first three weeks of availability.

According to IDC, Apple shipped 50.1 million iPhones in the first quarter, down from the 55.4 million units it shipped during the same period last year.

Apple’s smartphone shipments in China shrank 2.1% in the final quarter of 2023 from a year earlier.

The drop underscores the challenges facing the U.S. firm in its third biggest market, as some Chinese companies and government agencies limit employees’ use of Apple devices – a measure mirroring U.S. government restrictions on Chinese apps.

The Cupertino, a California-based company, will hold its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, where it is set to highlight updates to the software powering iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices.

Investors are closely watching for updates on Apple’s artificial intelligence development. The company has spoken little about incorporating AI technology into its devices. Earlier this year, it lost the crown as the world’s most valuable company to Microsoft.

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