Apple Inc's (NASDAQ: AAPL) short stint as the market's smartphone leader ended in the first quarter, reflecting seasonal softness and the sluggish performance of the overall market amid inclement economic conditions.
What Happened: Apple held 18% of the overall global smartphone market in the first quarter, according to data released by market research firm Canalys. That represented a decline from a 22% share in the fourth quarter but an improvement from 15% a year earlier.
Apple's loss was Samsung's gain, with the South Korean electronics giant reclaiming the top spot that the former held in the fourth quarter.
Samsung benefited from the ramp-up of its popular A-series models, which aggressively competed in the mid-to low-end segment. The company also refreshed its 2022 portfolio, including its flagship Galaxy S22 series.
Notwithstanding the contraction in market share, Apple still found good reception for its iPhone 13 series, Canalys said. Analysts at the firm expect the third-generation iPhone SE launched in March to be an "important mid-range volume driver" for Apple.
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Chinese vendors Xiaomi Corp (OTC: XIACF), Oppo and Vivo took the next three positions, with market shares of 12%, 9%, and 8%, respectively.
"While Chinese vendors are still suffering supply constraints at the low end, their global expansion is being hampered by a slowdown in their home market," Canalys said.
Smartphone Market Shrinks: Canalys' research showed that the global smartphone market fell 11% in the first quarter from a year earlier.
"The global smartphone market was held back by an unsettled business environment in Q1," said Canalys VP Mobility Nicole Peng.
The spike in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, uncertainty surrounding the Russia-Ukraine war, China's lockdown, and inflation threat marred the numbers for the seasonally weak period of the year, the analyst said.
Price Action: Apple closed Wednesday's session down 0.10% at $167.23.
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