Wednesday, February 28, 2024
HomenewsApple Is World's Largest Smartphone Maker by Volume. It's Not Helping the...

Apple Is World’s Largest Smartphone Maker by Volume. It’s Not Helping the Stock.


Apple

has become the world’s biggest smartphone maker by volume for the first time. It’s a reminder of the iPhone manufacturer’s huge success, but still no guarantee of continued growth.

Global smartphone shipments came to 1.17 billion units in 2023, according to research firm International Data Corporation.

Apple

accounted for 20.1% of the total, with 234.6 million units shipped. 

Samsung Electronics had a 19.4% market share with 226.6 million units shipped last year, meaning it lost the top spot for the first time since 2010. It was followed by Chinese smartphone makers

Xiaomi
,

OPPO, and Transsion Holdings. 

“Apple’s ongoing success and resilience is in large part due to the increasing trend of premium devices, which now represent over 20% of the market, fueled by aggressive trade-in offers and interest-free financing plans,” said IDC research director Nabila Popal in a report Monday.  

The question is if Apple is outperforming its peers, then why isn’t the stock gaining? Apple shares fell 2.1% early on Tuesday, bringing the stock down 5.5% this year so far.

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Firstly, Apple is doing well, but in a slowing market. Global smartphone shipments declined 3.2% in 2023. While Apple outperformed, with 3.7% volume growth annually, there are concerns over sluggish demand going forward. That’s especially true in the Chinese market—and that looks to be extending to Apple, with the company offering promotional discounts on newer iPhones in China.

Secondly, the market is forward-looking and the smartphone market is anything buy static. Newer generations of smartphones are expected to be equipped with artificial-intelligence capabilities, and so far Apple hasn’t been clear about its AI strategy.

“We do see several developments from Apple though suggesting it may start offering GenAI on-device capabilities […] and has the hardware in place to be ready,” wrote UBS analysts in a research note Tuesday.

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The UBS analysts said they expect 40% of Apple’s smartphone shipments in 2024 and 80% for 2025 to be enabled with generative AI.

Write to Adam Clark at adam.clark@barrons.com



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