iPhone XR was best-selling smartphone of 2019

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone XR was the best-selling smartphone model of 2019, according to research from Omida, with Apple and Samsung devices accounting for nine of the top ten.

Apple released the iPhone XR in 2018 as a lower-cost alternative to the then-flagship iPhone XS in 2018 and shipped 23.1 million units that year.

However this figure doubled to 46.3 million in 2019 – 9 million higher than the second-placed iPhone 11 managed. The iPhone 11 has effectively replaced the iPhone XR as Apple’s entry-level iPhone with the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max offering more advanced features.

Best-selling smartphones

“Apple has consistently owned the first and second positions in the global smartphone model shipment ranking, with the company maintaining this dominant position for more than five years running,” 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.”

Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer but has a significantly larger range at more price points. This makes it difficult for a single model to gain the same numbers that Apple’s devices generate.

The mid-range Samsung Galaxy A10 (30.3m units shipped), Galaxy A50 (24.2m), and Galaxy A20 (23.1m) all featured in the top 10 but the flagship Samsung Galaxy S10 did not. This is despite the fact its predecessors the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus both featured in 2018’s list.

The only other manufacturer to reach the top 10 was Xiaomi, boosted by its strong presence in the Indian market.

“Samsung's top models in 2019 were the A-series and J-series, both of which are mid and low-priced models,” added 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.”

There is greater cause for optimism in 5G. Although the category only accounts for 1.1 per cent of the market with 14.7 million units, it is the fastest growing segment. Samsung was responsible for half of all 5G device sales, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G Plus (2.6m) narrowly pipping the Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G (2.5m) to the top spot.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.