Remember when Huawei seemed set to become and possibly remain the world’s top smartphone vendor? How about when Xiaomi overtook Apple for the number two spot in the global handset sales chart… for around 15 minutes or so? Looking further back in the mobile industry’s history, it feels even weirder to think that there was a time when Nokia, Motorola, and BlackBerry were the largest device manufacturers across the globe.
We’re talking of course about Samsung and Apple, which are responsible for all of the world’s top ten best-selling smartphones in Q2 2023. While that’s definitely not shocking to hear, it remains an incredible achievement, as well as a pretty unusual occurrence.
Four is actually better than six
Although we have no intention to rewrite any basic arithmetic rules, it seems hard to argue with the fact that Apple’s achievement highlighted in the latest Counterpoint “global handset model sales tracker” is far greater than Samsung’s.
That’s because the iPhone 14 is number one, followed by the 14 Pro Max, 14 Pro, and iPhone 13 in second, third, and fourth places respectively, with Samsung’s Galaxy A14, A54, A14 5G, S23 Ultra, A04e, and A34 completing the top ten in the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth positions respectively.
You can say that Apple’s quality has managed to eclipse Samsung’s quantity, which has obviously happened many times in the past. But it’s definitely not every quarter that you see this type of list topped by not one, not two and not three but a grand total of four different iPhone models, and it’s certainly equally unusual for those four to be followed by six members of the Android-based Galaxy family with absolutely no intrusion from a low-cost Redmi or anything like that.
In Q2 2022, for instance, Samsung managed to grab a spot on the podium behind the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max with the entry-level Galaxy A13, while the Redmi Note 11 LTE concluded the top 10 and thus delayed the instatement of the current industry brand duopoly.
The landscape was technically even more diverse at the end of 2021
, when two different Redmis were ranked inside the global top ten, but Samsung only had one model on that list while Apple had seven (!!!).
The iPhone 14 series is smoking hot, the S23 family is… not
One of the most remarkable things about this Q2 2023 hierarchy is that it looks identical to Counterpoint’s Q1 2023 list as far as the top four devices are concerned but vastly different starting with the number five spot.
Shockingly enough, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which was released in the middle of the year’s first quarter, slipped from sixth to eighth place during the April – June timeframe, while its little brothers remain nowhere to be found, proving less successful (at least in terms of volume) than even the ultra-low-end and little-known (or so we thought) Galaxy A04e.
The iPhone 14 Pro (left) and the iPhone 14 (right) are both WAY more successful than the Galaxy S23 series.
It’s crystal clear that Samsung has a big high-end smartphone popularity problem, especially outside of North America and Western Europe, which apparently accounted for an overwhelming share of S23 Ultra sales.
It’s also obvious that, although hugely successful in regions like Asia and Latin America, Galaxy A-series mid-rangers are simply not strong enough to completely offset the failings of the company’s flagships, as evidenced by Samsung’s massive year-on-year decline in total Q2 shipments
Apple also slipped in Q2 compared to the same period of 2022 but its drop was a lot smaller than that of its arch-rival, actually overperforming the market as a whole and suggesting even bigger things and greater achievements might be on the horizon for both the currently insanely popular iPhone 14 lineup and the still-new iPhone 15 series.