CANALYS: Samsung is [barely] the largest smartphone maker this quarter

With negative growth and only a hair away against Apple, it’s a pyrrhic victory.

FILE PHOTO: Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 Wi-Fi

According to Canalys’ latest report, Samsung is now the largest smartphone maker… well barely. It accumulated 22% of the world’s smartphone shares. Sounds impressive, right? Well, Apple gained 21% of that pie, is in second place, and has 3% growth. Samsung is declining in trend.

That 22% is actually 60.3 million devices shipped globally. These attributes originated mostly from the company’s A-series midrange line of phones. At a very close second is Apple with 58 million units shipped. Last year, Apple maintained its top position during the last quarter of 2022 thanks to the strong sales of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Canalys noted that Samsung has managed to recover well after its difficulties last year but also may have a hard time maintaining this growth.

“Samsung’s performance shows early signs of recovery after a tough end to 2022,” said Runar Bjørhovde, Canalys Analyst. “The rebound is particularly connected to product launches, which drove an increase in sell-in volume. Still, Samsung will have to navigate through a difficult landscape going forward, particularly as entry-level device inventory remains high.”

Seen in third place is the trifecta of Chinese smartphone giants which are Xiaomi, Oppo (including OnePlus), and Vivo respectively. Two of these companies are owned by BBK Electronics. All three declined in sales during this quarter with Xiaomi taking the biggest hit of 22%. Xiaomi has an 11% market share which equates to 30.5 million devices shipped worldwide.

The story is different in China. There, Apple unsurprisingly dominates. What we’re surprised about here is Honor went in hot and performed slightly better than Xiaomi with 14% of the market share there. Apple claimed victory with a 20% market share which is equivalent to about 68 million units shipped. That’s just China, by the way.

Canalys noted that the ease of COVID-19 restrictions may have loosened up some strings but it’s not enough to bring back the strong demand for smartphones just the way it is before COVID-19 was even a thing.

“Economic vitality has rebounded after the ease of COVID-19 restrictions but it has not brought any significant boost to the demand for smartphones,” said Lucas Zhong, Research Analyst at Canalys. “The market experienced its fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit decline. The total retail sales of consumer goods in Mainland China in Q1 2023 increased by 5.8%, but demand for communication products faced a decline.”

You can read the report of Canalys here for global and here for China.