London, San Diego, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong – March 8, 2022
The top 10 best-selling smartphone models contributed 19% to the total global smartphone unit sales in 2021, compared to 16% in 2020, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Monthly Handset Model Sales Tracker. Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi were the only brands that made it to the 2021 top 10 list. Apple secured seven spots in the list, its highest ever. Xiaomi captured two spots and Samsung one. There were more than 4,200 active smartphone models in the global market in 2021.
The top five models in 2021 were from Apple. The iPhone 12 was the best-selling model, followed by the iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 11. The top three models contributed 41% to Apple’s total sales. The pending demand for 5G upgrades by a strong and loyal iOS user base and push from carriers led the iPhone 12 series volumes. Besides, the delayed launch of the iPhone 12 series shifted some holiday season demand to the initial months of 2021. The latest iPhone 13 series is performing well with the iPhone 13 becoming the best-selling model in Q4 2021, followed by the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro.
Samsung’s Galaxy A12, an entry-level smartphone, took the sixth position in 2021. Almost all regions and countries showed strong demand for the A12 throughout the year. North America, Latin America and Western Europe were its top markets. Samsung’s choice of features for the A12, like good camera setup, big battery size, six memory configurations and longer software support, made the model a value-for-money product that clicked with customers. We believe the momentum will be continued by the A12’s successor launched in December 2021, the Galaxy A13 (5G).
Xiaomi’s Redmi 9A and Redmi 9 entered the list in 2021, contributing 22% to the brand’s total sales. Xiaomi performed well across regions. China, India and Asia-Pacific were its top markets. Xiaomi pushed its budget models such as the Redmi 9A and 9 in these price-conscious regions, where it faced component shortages for its entry-tier series.
The share of the top 10 models is increasing YoY, indicating a trend of brands focusing on their leading models and making their portfolios leaner in some cases. With entry-level models facing component shortages in 2021, we also saw faster diffusion of key features in the mid-tier segment.
Click here to read our research on the best-selling smartphones in 8 countries.
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.
Follow Counterpoint Research