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Apple loses title of world’s biggest phone maker as Chinese rivals eat into sales

iphones
iphones

Apple has lost its spot as the world’s top smartphone maker by sales as Chinese rivals eat into its market share.

iPhone sales dropped by 9.6pc in the first three months of the year to around 50 million, analysts at IDC said, while volumes shipped by Chinese challengers surged.

Beijing-headquartered rival Xiaomi increased its phone shipments by 33.8pc and budget Chinese technology brand Transsion grew its sales by 84pc.

Apple’s market share fell to 17.3pc in the first three months of 2024 as a result, compared to 20.7pc a year earlier.

Ryan Reith, vice president at IDC, said a “resurgence of Huawei in China” and “notable gains from Xiaomi” were increasingly challenging Apple and its major rival Samsung.

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South Korea’s Samsung is faring better than Apple and claimed the top spot as the world’s most popular smartphone brand by sales, IDC said.

Nabila Popal, research director at IDC, said: “While the top two players both saw negative growth in the first quarter, it seems Samsung is in a stronger position overall than they were in recent quarters.”

Over the past decade, Samsung has consistently held the top spot as the world’s biggest seller of smartphones. However, Apple surpassed its rival in late 2023 after the release of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, its latest flagship handsets.

Apple’s shares have dipped 5pc so far this year amid market concerns that demand for its iPhones is waning.

The tech giant has been searching for its next big technology breakthrough, launching the Apple Vision Pro virtual reality headset in February. It is also planning to add new artificial intelligence features to its next line-up of MacBooks and iPhones.

Competition is getting more intense in the smartphone market as sales decline.

The global smartphone market shrank in 2023 as rising interest rates eroded consumers’ ability to splash out on the latest gadgets. Shipments of phones dropped 4pc compared to 2022, according to data from Canalys.

However, IDC said the wider market appeared to be showing signs of rebounding. Smartphone sales climbed 7.8pc to 289.4 million in the first three months of 2024, the analysts said.

Separately on Monday, Samsung agreed to produce its latest generation of semiconductors in the US, securing $6.4bn (£5.1bn) in subsidies from the White House under Joe Biden’s Chips Act.

Samsung will ramp up a new microchip manufacturing plant in Taylor, Texas, as part of a $40bn spending spree in the US.

The US has been spending billions of pounds to attract foreign chipmakers to America in a bid to reinforce its domestic technology supply chain. It comes amid fears China could one day invade Taiwan, which dominates global microchip production.