Samsung and Apple are the undisputed market leaders in the smartphone space - a market that Apple arguably invented and dominated prior to Samsung’s rapid catch-up.
2015 was identified as a record year for Samsung phones shipped, with 320.9 million - 38% higher than 231.5 million iPhones sold in the same period. In contrast, Apple’s peak year for sales was 2021, with 234.9 million units sold - 16% lower than 272 million Samsung phones in the same period.
Samsung also pulled ahead in the first half of 2023, with 114 million phones sold compared to 97.7 million iPhones. However, Samsung saw an 18% decrease in sales over the past ten years, while Apple saw a 47% increase over the same period.
Apples and oranges
Despite Samsung consistently outselling Apple products, July 2023 has seen Apple overtake its position as the market leader. The month saw Apple hold 28.39% of the market, compared to 27.5% in July 2022, while Samsung’s market share fell from 28.17% in July 2022 to 24.22% in July 2023.
It’s unclear from the data what has caused this discrepancy, or why Apple has recently overtaken Samsung as the top dog of the phone space but with true innovation in phones slowing in the past few years, and price gaps narrowing it may be that Apple's famous brand loyalty is winning out. Apple has become more than a manufacturer, it’s become a lifestyle brand in its own right, with users worldwide routinely lining up in order to be seen to be carrying the latest hardware.
Will Apple continue to fight back and hold its position as current market leader? That’s uncertain, though the picture will become clear as both manufacturers reveal new handsets - and new reasons to upgrade existing handsets - in the coming months.
Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court sided with Apple in its ongoing battle with Epic Games.