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The iPhone XR was the world’s most popular smartphone in 2019, easily out-shipping all other models and extending Apple’s record of perennially offering the market’s top-selling product. 

Apple shipped 46.3 million iPhone XR smartphones last year, more than doubling the 23.1 million units in 2018, according to the Omdia Smartphone Model Market Tracker report. iPhone XR shipments in 2019 were 9 million units higher than the second-most popular model, Apple’s iPhone 11, which achieved shipments of 37.3 million units for the year. 

“Apple has consistently owned the first and second positions in the global smartphone model shipment ranking, with the company maintaining this dominant position in 2018 and 2019,” said Jusy Hong, smartphone research and analysis director at Omdia. “The company’s continued dominance on this front is all the more remarkable when considering that Apple’s price hikes caused overall iPhone shipments to decline last year. By limiting the number of models, it offers compared to its top competitors, Apple has been able to concentrate its sales on a few smartphones that have broad appeal, like the iPhone XR.” 

The cheapest iPhone model released last year was priced at $699, up $50 from $649 in 2016. The most expensive iPhone model—iPhone 11 Pro Max—was priced at $1,449 in 2019, jumping by a huge margin from $969 for Apple’s most expensive smartphone in 2016, the iPhone 7 Plus. As iPhone sales prices rose continuously, Apple’s overall shipments declined for two-consecutive years, dropping by 5.3 percent in 2018 and by 4.4 percent in 2019.


Samsung spreads its bets in the smartphone market

Samsung-made smartphones occupied the third through fifth ranks in 2019, with the company’s Galaxy A10, Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A20 attaining shipments of 30.3 million, 24.2 million and 23.1 million units respectively. 

Four of Samsung's models ranked among the top-10 in 2019, up from three in 2018. However, the Galaxy S10 series, Samsung's flagship model in 2019, did not make the top 10. In 2018, the flagship Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus models ranked seventh and eighth respectively.  

“Samsung's top models in 2019 were the A-series and J-series, both of which are mid and low-priced models,” said Gerrit Schneeman, senior analyst, smartphones for Omdia. “Samsung in 2019 greatly increased the number of variants of its flagship model by introducing low-priced models, along with 5G smartphones. Omdia believes that shipments are dispersed among the variants, preventing the Galaxy S10 from attaining higher total shipments.” 

The highest ranking ever for a Samsung smartphone was fourth place in 2018.  

Xiaomi model slips into the top-10

Just as in 2018, Apple and Samsung owned nine out of 10 models in the shipment ranking in 2019. The lone model from another brand was Xiaomi's Redmi Note 7, which came in eighth last year. 

Xiaomi's Note series is priced in the mid-$120 range and is sold primarily in emerging markets such as India and Southeast Asia. The Redmi Note series attained 10 million shipments annually in 2017 and 2018, but the volume increased significantly to 16.4 million units in 2019. This growth was the result of Xiaomi's expansion in the Indian market.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 takes early 5G lead

Shipments of 5G smartphones totaled 14.7 million units in 2019. While this accounted for just 1.1 percent of total smartphone shipments, 5G represents a fast-rising segment of the smartphone market that’s set to become the dominant wireless standard in the coming years. 

Of all 5G smartphones, Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G shipped the most, with 2.6 million units in 2019. Huawei's Mate 30 Pro 5G came in a close second, with 2.5 million units, just 100,000 fewer than the Samsung model. 

Samsung's smartphones accounted for nearly half of all 5G smartphone shipments in 2019, with the third through to fifth places taken by Samsung's Galaxy Series. 

In 2019, Samsung accounted for 49 percent of the global 5G smartphone market, while Huawei ranked second with 27 percent. China's vivo and Oppo took 12 percent and 5 percent, respectively. As Chinese OEMs are launching a large number of mid-priced 5G phones starting in the fourth quarter of 2019, the share of Chinese makers is expected to increase rapidly.