The Apple iPhone is so ubiquitous in America that most people would think it is the No.1 smartphone everywhere else. However, this is not true. South Korea’s Samsung holds that spot. That is likely to change soon.
TrendForce puts out an analysis of smartphone unit production globally and by quarter. It measures units by production and not sales. Across the industry, production has been very weak so far in 2023. TrendForce analysts reported, “The first half of 2023 clocked in at a mere 522 million units—marking a 13.3% YoY decline and setting a ten-year low for both individual quarters and the first half of the year combined.”
Production was supposed to be better, according to TrendForce. However, the end of COVID-19 restrictions in China has not lifted production. The number of people emerging from poverty in India has not helped either.
The most noteworthy conclusion of the TrendForce report is that Apple could overtake Samsung as the best-selling smartphone in the world. This is due to a forecast that the new iPhone 15 will sharply boost Apple’s production. The forecast is probably true since this surge has been the pattern for over a decade.
Ironically, Apple had to go through a downturn before its surge. In the second quarter of 2023, Apple’s market share tumbled, likely because it was nearly five months from the launch of the iPhone 14. Apple’s quarter-over-previous quarter production dropped 21.2% to 42 million. That dropped its global market share to 15.4%.
Samsung also had a weak second quarter, but not as bad as Apple’s. Protection quarter over the previous quarter dropped 12.1% to 53.9 million and a global market share of 19.8%.
For Apple to pass Samsung in global market share in the second half of the year, iPhone production will need to be extraordinary. It is TrendForce’s forecast that this will happen in 2023.
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