iPhone 12 is the world's best selling phone so far in 2021 and Galaxy S21 isn't even close

Posted by Ryan Mai on

The iPhone 12 line has been a huge success ever since it launched last October, so it’ll come as no surprise to hear that Apple’s newest flagship smartphones absolutely dominated the market in every way last quarter.

The iPhone 12 was the best-selling smartphone in the world in Q1 2021

Apple’s standard iPhone 12 5G model was the world’s best-selling smartphone in the first quarter of 2021 and accounted for an outstanding 5% of global shipments during the period. It was followed in a close second place by the top-of-the-range iPhone 12 Pro Max, which held a market share of 4%. 

The iPhone 12 Pro was the third best-selling device and added another 3% market share to Apple’s total. You’d expect the iPhone 12 mini to complete the top 4 list, but that isn’t what happened. The compact iPhone has underperformed so much that it didn’t even make the top 10.

It was down to the older (and cheaper) iPhone 11 to fill in the gap. The phone managed to capture more than 2% of global shipments, enough to guarantee it that fourth place spot alongside some of the best phones in 2021.

Counterpoint Research attributed Apple’s success to the strong demand for 5G smartphones and delayed smartphone purchases from 2020, a direct result of the global pandemic.

iPhone 12 is the world's best selling phone so far in 2021 and Galaxy S21 isn't even close

The remaining spots on the top 10 list by volume went to Xiaomi and Samsung, who battled it out with their budget devices. The fifth, sixth and eighth positions went to Xiaomi with the Redmi 9A, Redmi 9, and Redmi Note 9 respectively.

The Redmi 9A performed particularly well in China and India, whereas the vanilla Redmi 9 experienced success in South East Asian markets.

Samsung took seventh with the Galaxy A12, ninth with the Galaxy A21s, and tenth with the Galaxy A31. Demand for these devices was concentrated in India, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

Apple’s 2020 iPhones accounted for 35% of all smartphone revenue

Measuring smartphone market performance by revenue really switches things up. Despite accounting for ‘only’ 4% of volume, the iPhone 12 Pro Max generated an incredible 12% of all smartphone revenue last quarter.The iPhone 12 accounted for an additional 11% of revenue and the iPhone 12 Pro followed with a 9% share. Combined with the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone SE, Apple’s 2020 iPhone models alone captured 35% of global revenue. Oh, and the popular iPhone 11 generated a further 3%.

Not a single Galaxy S21 model made the top 10 in terms of volume, but all three models made an appearance on the revenue chart. The Galaxy S21 Ultra occupied fifth place with a very respectable 3% of the total. The Galaxy S21 finished the quarter with 2% of revenue and the Galaxy S21+ managed an additional 1%, bringing the Samsung Galaxy S21 series total to 6% for Q1 2021.

Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro took the remaining spot on the top 10 with a 2% share. That’s impressive considering the smartphone has only been widely available in China, but it could be the final time we see a Huawei phone on the list.

Counterpoint Research claims that the success of these flagships pushed global smartphone revenues to over $100 billion in Q1 2021, setting a first-quarter record. And with the exception of Apple’s iPhone 11 and iPhone SE, it’s clear that 5G is quickly becoming the standard in the premium market.



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