Apple First to Capture 8 Spots in List for Global Top 10 Smartphones

  • Apple captured eight spots in the list of top 10 best-selling smartphones for 2022.
  • The remaining two spots were taken by Samsung’s Galaxy A13 and A03 models.
  • Apple’s iPhone 13 was the best-selling smartphone of 2022.
  • For the first time, a Pro Max variant drove more volume than the Pro and base models.
  • The top 10 smartphones’ unit sales share is expected to increase in 2023.

London, San Diego, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong – March 7, 2023

In 2022, Apple became the first brand to capture eight spots in the list of top 10 best-selling smartphones, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Monthly Handset Model Sales Tracker. The remaining two spots were taken by Samsung. The top-10 list contributed 19% of the total global smartphone sales in 2022, the same as in 2021.

Apple’s iPhone 13 was the best-selling smartphone of 2022, contributing 28% of iPhone sales. It was the best-selling smartphone in major markets such as China, US, UK, Germany and France. Further, the iPhone 13 remained the number one smartphone each month from its launch in September 2021 till August 2022. Price cuts after the iPhone 14 series’ launch further drove the iPhone 13 volumes in developing markets. The iPhone 13 sales were two times more than that of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the second best-selling smartphone in 2022.

Global Top 10 Best-selling Smartphones Unit Sales Share and Monthly Rankings, 2022

Top Smartphones 2022 Counterpoint Reserach

For the first time, a Pro Max variant of an iPhone series drove more volume than its Pro and base models in 2022. It helped the iPhone 14 Pro Max to capture the third spot in the 2022 list. It was the top-selling smartphone model for September, October and November of 2022. The iPhone 14 Pro Max sales were led by early adopters and those upgrading to a higher iPhone variant. Major advancements in the iPhone 14 Pro series, such as dynamic island and faster processor, make it more attractive, as the base model is almost identical to the previous year’s model.

Global Passenger EV Model Sales Tracker, Q4 2022The iPhone 12, the best-selling smartphone of 2021, was the oldest model in the top 10 for 2022. Its sales remained robust in the US, Japan and China. The price cuts with each year’s new iPhone launch increased its value proposition while its 5G capability also played an important role. The iPhone SE 2022, among the most compact phones in the industry, grabbed the tenth spot. Like its predecessor, it managed to sell well in Japan.

With its entry-level models Galaxy A13 and Galaxy A03, Samsung took two spots on the list, one more than the previous year. The two models were the only LTE smartphones to make it to the list. The regional contribution of these models was spread more evenly than in the case of iPhones.

Offering attractive specifications for its price (<$250), the Galaxy A13, like its predecessor, continued to perform well. Caribbean and Latin America (CALA), followed by India, contributed the most to its sales. The Galaxy A03 was the most affordable smartphone on the list and the only one powered by UNISOC. The smartphone performed well in developing regions like CALA and the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

We believe the share of the top 10 smartphones will increase in 2023 as brands focus on clearing inventory and optimizing their launches. We also expect brands to continue making their portfolios leaner in 2023 to minimize cannibalization. The number of active smartphone models in the global market has already fallen from over 4,200 in 2021 to around 3,600 in 2022. At the same time, brands will focus on their portfolios’ premiumization to translate volumes into profitability.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

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Samsung Unpacked Event – Lots of Folds, Pixels and 5G

Samsung Unpacked 2020 event had lots of energy and hardware announcements. In an era where it is very difficult to differentiate, Samsung did an admirable job, unveiling four smartphones and updated Galaxy Buds. It was the first Unpacked event for President & Head of Mobile Communications Business, TM Roh.

Here are the key announcements from the event:

Samsung Z Flip at UNPACKED


A New Folding Galaxy:

The event was kicked-off by the elegant Z Flip. It is a radical change from the Galaxy Fold which closed in a ‘book’ format. The Z Flip is a clam-shell foldable. The device is compact, symmetrical, and the first square smartphone since the Nokia 7705 Twist. The device uses ultra-thin glass that folds, according to Samsung, over 200,000 times without stress lines. The clamshell and design are a superior form factor than last year’s ‘book’ fold and Samsung did a much better job protecting the display as it is more recessed. The hideaway hinge is a unique implementation that allows the display angle to be less severe.

The Z Flip has some useful multi-tasking capabilities. Users will get YouTube premium included–a nice enticement. This is not yet a high-volume device. It is $1,380 and it is not 5G-capable. However, each iteration is seeing massive improvements, and this form factor is the future.


Samsung S20 at UNPACKED

S20, S20+, S20 Ultra:

The first Galaxy S launched in 2010—a full decade of Galaxy devices have ensued. The S20 is a sizable upgrade for the new decade. Samsung unveiled three smartphones focusing on camera technology, AI, and 5G.

Key selling points of the S20 family–choose your display size. Display sizes are 6.2 inches for the S20, 6.7 inches for the S20+, and 6.9 inches for the S20 Ultra. The OLEDs are bright, vibrant, and support 120Hz. The S20 feels ‘compact’ relative its brothers and can actually be used with one hand. The S20+ and S20 Ultra, because of the near edge-to-edge display and thinness, feel smaller than 6.7 inches and 6.9 inches.

Camera capabilities are the sexy headlines. First, the device can shoot, share, and view 8k video. It is also possible to crop a single frame from a video. The megapixel wars are back! The Ultra sports a 12MP, 48MP, and a 108MP (ultra-wide angle, telephoto, wide angle). Under the branding name, “space zoom”, the camera configuration can magnify up to 100x. Yes, after 50x it becomes pixelated, but what a feat within the thinness of a phone to have binocular-like zoom.

Not as sexy, but the best utility is ‘single take’. The camera takes multiple shots, chooses the best filters, and the shooter can confirm it is their favorite. The automation is key.

Other key launch day notes:

  • 5G use cases were rare, but video calls with Google Duo will suffice.
  • Remember the early LTE smartphones and their battery performances? Not to fear. These are day-long batteries at 4,000mAh, 4,500mAh and 5,000mAh.
  • All the devices are run by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865. Samsung also chose Qualcomm’s X55 modem as well as Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. In countries where mmWave is needed, Qualcomm’s QTM527 modules are used.
  • LPDDR5 16GB of RAM—this will be utilized for machine learning capabilities. Samsung states it is 30% faster getting data. We will have to trust Samsung for now.
  • 1.5TB of storage is available. This is not overkill considering the S20-series can shoot, store, and play 8k videos. New stabilizer tech will help 8k video smoothness.


Galaxy Buds+

Galaxy Buds+ were unveiled starting at $149.The improvements include an additional mic for improved ambient sounds—there are now three mics. The update Buds are 30% smaller. Samsung believes version two will be more comfortable and fit in the ear better. Need the Buds+ for a run but battery is dead? Rapid charge 1.5 minutes for over two hours of use. Overall battery life improved two-fold.

Samsung Galaxy Bud+ at UNPACKED

More details after we test the devices further. For volume expectations, see here.

Top 10 smartphones in February 2014

Apple’s iPhone 5S and 5C were the bestselling smartphones in February while Xiaomi also entered the top 10 list.

Apple’s iPhone 5s continues to be the bestselling phone in the world – a position it has held for 6 consecutive months. The iPhone 5c comes in at 2nd place in February, mostly due to the big clearance discounts in Western markets. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and Note 3 tie for 3rd place as the end of life cycle Galaxy S4 still pushes huge volumes while the Note 3 is a spectacular hit in Asia markets where its large, high-quality display is seen as particularly attractive.

The big surprise is little known Xiaomi as two of its newest devices enter the ranks of the Global top 10 in February. The Hongmi Redrice comes in at 7th place and the MI3 at 10th place. The Hongmi Redrice is an affordable quad core device with a 4.7” screen running on a 3G network while the MI 3 is a phablet with a 5” vibrant screen with 441 ppi resolution but again much more affordable than its competitors from international brands. These are both 3G phones and mainly sold in just one country, China. It only recently started to ship to neighboring countries.

Samsung still placed 5 devices in the top 10 list while Apple had 3, new comer Xiaomi had 2. LG and Sony each have one model just outside of the top 10 list. Nokia’s 105, 108, 208 top the feature phone hit model list but none of its smartphones are in the top 20 list this month.

Commenting on the analysis, Counterpoint Research Director, Tom Kang noted, “We expect some changes in March and April as the new Galaxy S5 becomes available and the iPhone 5c discounts have ceased. We are also seeing good performances from the Motorola G and Huawei LTE models so there might be some volatility in the best seller’s list.”

Counterpoint’s India based Research Director, Neil Shah further commented, “The addition of Nokia’s aggressively-priced X-Series smartphones that are based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) platform, will also start to become available progressively over the next few months. After several quarters in the wilderness, these innovative devices will likely push Nokia back into the best sellers list.”

Peter Richardson who manages Counterpoint’s Tech Strategies made the following observation, “At the global level there has been little brand diversity over recent months. However the appearance of Xiaomi on the best sellers list highlights an increasing trend – local brands moving up the sales rankings in their respective countries. It’s a consequence of commoditization of hardware and software. Provided the price is sufficiently attractive, consumers are willing to try local brands over the higher profile global brands.”


Top 10 smartphone* list of February 2014
Rank Brand Model Category
1 Apple iPhone 5S smartphone
2 Apple iPhone 5C smartphone
3 Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone
3 Samsung Note 3 smartphone
5 Apple iPhone 4S smartphone
6 Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini smartphone
7 Xiaomi Hongmi Redrice smartphone
8 Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone
9 Samsung Galaxy S3 mini smartphone
10 Xiaomi MI 3 smartphone

(table source: Monthly Market Pulse February 2014)
* Mobile Phone sales only (not shipments). Tablets, PCs, dongles, fixed wireless devices not included. All regional or minor hardware variations included in each model.

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Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in Technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of 13 years in the high tech industry.

Top 10 phones in August: Galaxy S4 sales drop but still leads the pack

Bestselling smartphones

Galaxy S4 Sales continue to slump but the long tail Galaxy range makes up for it

Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4 was the bestselling smartphone in August according to Counterpoint Research’s monthly model tracker. But sales are falling short of expectations as the sell-through dipped to 5 million unit level during the month. After hitting its peak in June with more than 7 million units a month, sell-through continues to decline. However, Samsung was the only major vendor which registered monthly growth in the historically slow season of August. The long tail of Galaxy branded Android smartphones such as Galaxy S4 mini, Galaxy S duos, Galaxy Fame, Galaxy Trend and others together were able to offset the dip in Galaxy S4  sales.

Premium smartphone (above US$400 wholesale) category sales are showing signs of stagnating growth as most of the sales in the premium segment are coming from replacement sales from existing smartphone users. But the overall smartphone market is still growing at the rate of 40~50% a year with major growth thus coming from burgeoning smartphone sales in the sub US$200 price segments”

September month sales are very important to shape the holiday season demand trajectory, a decisive moment distinguishing which phones are going to be top-sellers. Galaxy S4 sales might – pick-up again with special holiday pricing though we expect the flagship model to sell 80% more than its predecessor the Galaxy S3 from launch till year end, instead of our previous view of 100% more.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 might also have a better trajectory than its predecessor as it still is a highly differentiated offering with maturing second generation S Note features and Galaxy Gear smart watch bundle making it stand out from the competition.

Among the other bestsellers were the Apple iPhone 5 and quite a few feature phones from Nokia such as the Asha 501, Asha 205 and Nokia 105.

Top 10 models sold Globally in August 2013

Rank Brand Model

  1. Samsung Galaxy S4 International version
  2. Apple iPhone 5-16GB
  3. Apple iPhone 5-32GB
  4. Nokia Asha 501
  5. Samsung Galaxy Note II
  6. Samsung Galaxy S III mini
  7. Samsung Galaxy S III
  8. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini I9190
  9. Nokia Asha 205
  10. Nokia 105

Source: Monthly Market Pulse August 2013


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