Global Smartphone Shipments Still Struggling, Samsung Stays On Top

The past few quarters have not been too great for most smartphone brands in a world reeling from the effects of the pandemic, and the economic downturn that closely followed it. Most smartphone brands did anticipate this downturn since they were conscious of consumers' hesitation to splurge on smartphones amid a turbulent economy. However, it is increasingly becoming clear that the smartphone industry is taking longer than expected to bounce back, especially in light of the latest global shipment figures posted by research firm Canalys.

The research firm's latest report continues to paint a gloomy picture of the smartphone industry in general. Per Canalys' estimate, more than 269.8 million smartphones were shipped during the first quarter of 2023 (January-March). While this is certainly an impressive number, these figures show a decline of 13% compared to the numbers from the same period a year ago, when the global shipment figures exceeded 300 million units (311.2 million, to be precise).

With the exception of Apple — which managed to increase its shipments by a marginal 3%, despite challenges — the rest of smartphone makers reported a double-digit decline in shipment numbers. Xiaomi was the worst affected, with the company experiencing a massive 22% decline in shipment figures. Samsung closely followed suit, reporting an 18% decline in shipments. The likes of Vivo (17% decline) and OPPO (8% decline) were also in the red — as was the rest of the smartphone industry, which posted a combined 16% decline in shipment figures.

Samsung barely holds on to the No. 1 spot

Despite the massive decline in Samsung's shipment figures, the company has somehow managed to hold on to the top position in terms of overall market share, but just by a thread. With over 60.3 million shipments in Q1 2023, the company accounted for 22% of the global smartphone market. Apple — which managed to ship 58 million units in the same period — came in at a close second, accounting for 21% of the market.

Xiaomi, despite its recent struggles, continues to be the third-biggest smartphone vendor in the world. The company shipped 30.5 million handsets globally, accounting for 11% of the market. OPPO's shipment figures closely follow Xiaomi's (26.6 million units), giving it 11% of the market. OPPO's close sibling Vivo (Chinese conglomerate BBK Electronics owns both) came in at fifth position after the company managed to ship 20.9 million units — accounting for around 8% of the global smartphone market.

The Canalys report estimates smartphone shipments will show marginal declines all through 2023 — although it does add that the rate of decline could slow down by the second half of the year.