The global smartphone market continued its comeback in Q1 as shipments increased 6 per cent year on year for a total 296.9 million as Samsung took over the top spot from Apple, data from Counterpoint showed.

Samsung took a 20 per cent share of market shipments (up from 17 per cent the previous quarter), while Apple fell to 17 per cent. Apple’s shipments declined 13 per cent year on year.

Counterpoint Research attributed most of the market’s shipment surge to strong performances across Europe, Middle East and Africa (MEA), the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Prachir Singh, senior research analyst at Counterpoint, stated MEA was the fastest growing region due to strong shipments by Tecno, Xiaomi and Honor. He noted China’s shipments were boosted by robust Lunar New Year sales and Huawei’s comeback in the market.

He explained Europe, especially Central Europe and Eastern Europe, grew the most compared to a difficult Q1 2023, while the mature markets of North America and Japan declined.

Record first quarter revenue
Global smartphone revenue grew by 7 per cent year on year, the most ever in a first calendar quarter.

Apple led smartphone market revenue with a 43 per cent share, despite an 11 per cent decline in its revenues year-on-year, while Samsung’s smartphone market revenue grew by 2 per cent.

Jeff Fieldhack, research director for Counterpoint, stated Apple’s performance was impacted by increased competition in China, record low upgrades in the US and “a difficult compare from last year due to iPhone 14 Pro’s supply shifting to Q1 2023”.

He noted emerging markets provide long term growth opportunities for Apple as well as the upcoming inclusion of AI on its devices.  

Samsung’s success was driven by a strong performance from its Galaxy S24 series as well as an early refresh of its Galaxy-A series.

Last month data house IDC reported Q1 smartphone shipments rose 7.8 per cent to 289.4 million units, the third consecutive quarter of shipment growth.