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Teaching activity

In the News Teaching Activity – Apple overtakes Samsung in the global smartphone market (Jan 2024)

Elizabeth Veal

25th January 2024

For the first time in 12 years, Apple has overtaken Samsung in the race to be top of the global smartphone market potentially increasing Apple’s monopoly power is a market that is already fairly concentrated.

Apple has managed to capture over a fifth of the market share, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Samsung’s share is 19.4%, while Xiaomi and other Chinese phone makers lag behind these two giants of the industry. Despite an overall 3% drop in smartphone sales last year, Apple increased its sales to over 234 million phones. Meanwhile, Samsung faced a decline, citing weaker global demand for consumer electronics. The smartphone market is always evolving, with growing competition from Android providers, a shift toward foldable phones, and an increasing emphasis on the AI capabilities of phones. With Apple and Samsung together still holding a substantial share of the market, it remains fairly concentrated despite their shift in positions at the top.

Apple overtakes Samsung as world's biggest phonemaker - BBC News

1 What is meant by a ‘concentrated’ market?

2 How might the relatively high market shares held by Apple and Samsung affect the prices that consumers pay for their smartphones?

3 Apple's growing market share in the global smartphone industry raises questions about potential monopoly power. Discuss the benefits and costs of a firm holding monopoly power in an industry.

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Elizabeth Veal

Liz has taught Economics for over 25 years, including several years as Head of Economics at leading schools.

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