Apple iPhone
Apple iPhone (Image: Business Insider)

Counterpoint Research’s Marker Pulse released their report on the top-selling smartphones in 2019, which covers global market share as well as regional market share. Unsurprisingly, Apple came in first place globally with their cheaper offerings in the iPhone lineup, the iPhone XR and iPhone 11.

Apple Reigns Supreme

Global Top Selling Smartphones 2019 (MOBHouse Productions)
Global Top Selling Smartphones 2019 Chart (Image: Counterpoint Research)

According to the report, Apple’s iPhone XR and iPhone 11 tops the chart with 3% and 2.1% of sales respectively. The inclusion of the iPhone XR comes as no surprise due to its massive popularity after launching (not including the iPhone SE). But, the same can’t be said for the iPhone 11. Coming in at second place, the iPhone 11 quickly topped the charts in less than 4 months after its release back in September 2019. Man, it sold like hot cakes! 

However, that’s not the end of the story for Apple as it captured 6 out of the top 10 best-selling smartphones of 2019. The aging iPhone 8 is still selling well, capturing 1.2% of sales in 2019 and coming in at 6th place. This is presumably due to the still well-performing A11 Bionic chip coupled with the discounts that Apple has announced for the phone after the release of newer-generation iPhones. The iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 7, and iPhone XS Max also claimed the 8th, 9th, and 10th spots respectively.

Samsung also has points to prove as it claimed 3 respectable spots on the list. Interestingly, their flagship S and Note series did not make the list. Meanwhile, it is the mid-range A series that swept all three spots. The Galaxy A50 and A10 captured 1.8% and 1.7% of sales respectively, earning them both 3rd and 4th place. Additionally, the Galaxy A20 stands at 7th place with 1.1% of sales in 2019. Maybe my goddesses from Blackpink played a role in contributing to its success as the Galaxy A series global brand ambassadors. <3 This also shows Samsung’s success in revamping the Galaxy A Series into a great value proposition in the mid-range market.

The Oppo A5 stands alone as the only non-Apple and Samsung manufactured phone in this list. It garnered 1.3% of sales in 2019 and ranks at a respectable 5th place.

From this list alone, the trend is appears to favor mid-range phones. As the specifications for mid-range phones get better and have more value for money, top-of-the-line flagships really have nowhere to go next. This is also why we are seeing Apple push towards cheaper iPhones with recent rumours pointing at a possible $399 (RM1,685) starting price for the budget-oriented iPhone 9/iPhone SE 2.

Regional Data: A Mixed Bag

Top Selling Smartphones by Region 2019 (MOBHouse Productions)
Top Selling Smartphones by Region 2019 (Image: Counterpoint Research)

In North America (NAM), Apple swept the board by claiming the top 5 spots. The iPhone XR takes a strong lead at 12%, which is double of the second place, the iPhone 11 at 6%. The rest include candidates from the Global Top 10 chart; the iPhone 8, iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the iPhone XS Max.

While in Europe, the only iPhone contenders are the iPhone XR and iPhone 11. However, the Samsung Galaxy A50 beats both iPhones with 1% and 2% lead over the latter. The Galaxy A10 and A40 also made top 5 at 4th and 5th places respectively. Unlike the humongous sales of the iPhone XR in North America, smartphone sales in Europe are more evenly distributed.

In China, the top 5 spots are occupied by Chinese-made smartphones, with the Oppo A5 sitting on top with 4% of sales. On the other hand, Huawei have concentrated their efforts in the local market after the US trade ban and its Huawei P30 had made 5th place in China with 2% of the sales.

In Latin America (LATAM), Middle East, and Africa (MEA), Samsung claimed most of the spotlight with their mid-range Galaxy A series as well as their entry-level Galaxy J series. The only exception being the Moto E5 Play by Motorola getting 3rd place in LATAM.

Finally, in the rest of Asia Pacific (APAC), the top 5 is the most diverse of all the regions. With Oppo, Samsung, Apple, and Realme each getting a slice of the cake, it seems like there is less brand loyalty in the rest of APAC as consumers are more focused on getting the best value for their money.

What About The Rest?

According to Counterpoint Research, the global top 10 best-selling smartphones of 2019 only contributed to about 15% of the total sales worldwide. This means that the rest of the 85% is shared across all other models sold in 2019. The smartphone world today is still very diverse as we know it, with the smaller players still being able to survive. When can we see more brands take on a more one-size-fits-all approach with smartphones? Will we see sales become more concentrated on certain models when that happens?

What smartphone are you using right now and did it make the list? Let us know in the comments!