Apple now controls the majority of the worldwide smartphone market, pushing Samsung out of first place for the first time in 12 years.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the American phone giant accounted for more than a quarter of all phones shipped in 2018.
Samsung captured 19.4% of the market, with Chinese phonemakers Xiaomi, OPPO, and Transsion trailing behind.
Smartphone sales have been slowing as more people upgraded during the pandemic.
According to IDC, about 1.2 billion smartphones were sold last year, representing a more than 3% reduction from the previous year. It is the lowest number sold in a decade, as many consumers tighten their purse strings in response to economic hardships and high borrowing rates. Experts expect that the industry will revive this year.
Nonetheless, Apple, which sold more than 234 million phones last year, was named "the biggest winner" by IDC.
"Not only is Apple the only player in the Top 3 to show positive growth annually, but it also bags the number 1 spot annually for the first time ever," Nabila Popal, president of the International Data Corporation, stated.
"All this despite facing increased regulatory challenges and renewed competition from Huawei in China, its largest market."
Huawei has lately made progress in developing its own semiconductors after being barred from purchasing chips built with US technology due to accusations that the corporation poses a national security risk to Washington.
Offers to trade in old models, as well as interest-free financing arrangements, are fueling demand for premium gadgets such as those from Apple.
It's sad news for Samsung, which was once the world's leading manufacturer of memory chips, cellphones, and televisions.
Recently, the South Korean electronics giant warned that its profits would fall more than projected as worldwide demand for consumer goods remains poor.
It also faces competition from cheaper Android devices such as Transsion and Xiaomi, which are gaining popularity among both price-conscious consumers and emerging regions.
The IDC also stated that the smartphone market is entering a "very interesting time," with an increased number of Android suppliers splintering the market and buyers prioritizing foldable phones with AI capabilities.
This article was originally published on the BBC.