U.S. Markets closed

Nearly every top-selling smartphone in 2019 was an iPhone or Galaxy

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
Evan Rodgers/Engadget

It's almost a cliché to say that Apple and Samsung dictate the tempo of the smartphone market, but there's now more evidence to support that claim. Counterpoint Research has calculated that nine out of the top ten smartphones sold worldwide in 2019 were made by either Apple or Samsung -- Oppo's A5 was the only exception at fifth place. The iPhone XR had the clear lead, representing 3 percent of all phones sold, while the Galaxy A50 was the top Android phone on the list with 1.8 percent.

Just where these phones dominated is another matter. It won't surprise you to hear that Apple ruled North America, taking all of the top five slots, and took two of the top spots in Europe. In most other places, though, it's a Samsung planet. Samsung had the most top-five phones in Europe, Latin America, MEA (Middle East and Africa) and most of the Asia-Pacific area. The only place where Apple and Samsung failed to place was, unsurprisingly, China. Oppo, Vivo and Huawei led the pack in their home country.

While this does line up with market share estimates, it doesn't completely reflect the market. Companies like Huawei and BBK (which owns Oppo, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus) often fare well, but their phone sales tend to be distributed across many models rather than a handful of favorites. Still, this showed the lack of variety in the market, and Counterpoint warned that there appeared to be "consolidation" where fewer and fewer phone makers enjoyed success. That's a problem if you're eager for phone choices, especially if you live in a place where one brand reigns supreme.

Top 10 phones of 2019 by sales according to Counterpoint