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Samsung Overtakes Apple in Smartphone Sales, Driven by On-Device AI


Samsung overtook Apple to become the world’s highest-volume seller of smartphones in the first quarter.

To become the new holder of the No. 1 spot, Samsung shipped 60 million units during the quarter, independent analyst company Canalys said in a Tuesday (April 30) press release.

Apple slipped to second while shipping 48.7 million units, according to the release.

Canalys said Samsung’s updates to its A-series smartphones and early premium offerings boosted its shipments in the first quarter. The company added that Apple’s headwinds in its core markets contributed to a double-digit decline.

“Samsung’s S24 launch reflects a pivotal moment in its AI and premium strategy, with the potential to reshape the industry,” Sanyam Chaurasia, senior analyst at Canalys, said in the release. “Compared to last year’s S23 release, Samsung launched the Galaxy S24 a month earlier and shipped 13.5 million units, a 35% year-over-year shipment growth versus its predecessor in Q1.”

Chaurasia added that Galaxy AI contributed to the strong performance of Samsung’s smartphone offering, is likely to continue adding to the company’s competitiveness, and “signals a broader shift in the smartphone industry toward AI-driven innovation.”

Apple saw its smartphone sales in China plummet to their worst performance since the start of the pandemic in 2019. Citing data from Counterpoint Research, Bloomberg reported that Apple dropped to third place in the China market.

It was reported earlier that the latest installment of the iPhone hasn’t sold as well as previous versions, due partially to economic pressures and competition from Huawei.

In its Tuesday press release, Canalys also reported that the worldwide smartphone market grew 10% year-over-year in the first quarter and reached 296.2 million units.

The market’s performance was better than expected after 10 difficult quarters, per the release. The company attributed the surge to refreshed portfolios from vendors and macroeconomic stabilization in emerging markets.

Looking ahead, Canalys said in the release that it expects generative AI to be a critical factor for all players in the smartphone ecosystem.

“The evolution of on-device AI solutions for smartphones depends heavily on strategic alliances among brands, chipset providers and software firms,” Chaurasia said in the release. “Vendors will look for open collaboration with industry leaders to bring unique and personalized AI solutions to end users.”