Which smartphones ruled the roost in 2019?

Smartphone sales globally are forecast to drop 1.4% this year, the third consecutive year of shrinking sales

A little more than a billion smartphones were sold in the first three quarters of this year, almost 22.85 million fewer than the sales in the first nine months of 2018.

Overall, 2019 will be the third consecutive year of declines for sales of smartphones globally. The industry is forecast to drop 1.4 per cent year-on-year to December 31, as per the figures compiled by International Data Corporation.

Here are the top five smartphones in the first three quarters based on the number of units sold globally, according to two independent industry watchers – London's IHS Markit and Singapore's Counterpoint Research.

iPhone XR

Apple’s strategy to sell affordable iPhones has worked. The company’s lower-priced iPhone XR remained the world’s best-selling smartphone in the first three quarters of the year.

Starting at Dh2,499, the company sold more than 32 million units in the first nine months of 2019. It significantly surpassed the previous best sales record of 30 million units for the iPhone SE (Dh1,466) in 2016. The company stopped making the SE in September 2018.

Industry analysts say by offering a low-cost base-model iPhone, Apple is trying to increase its appeal across a wider array of price bands, a strategy which competitors Samsung and Huawei have been following for years.

Galaxy A10 and A50

South Korean manufacturer Samsung sold more than 30 million units of its budget-friendly Galaxy A10 and A50 smartphones.

“Strong sales of the A series boosted the mobile division’s profit in the third quarter … along with improved margins for mass-market models,” said Osman Albora, head of the IT and mobile division at Samsung Gulf.

“A series has won a loyal clientele and we will keep adding more in the coming months.”

The A10 and A50 models start from Dh450 and Dh850, respectively.

Redmi 6A and Redmi 7A

China's Xiaomi, which went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in July last year with a valuation of $54 billion (Dh198.3bn), is known for its affordable devices that draw comparisons with Apple and Samsung phones.

The company managed to sell more than 15 million units of its Redmi 6A and Redmi 7A phones in the first three quarters of the year. At less than Dh300, Redmi 6A went on sale in September last year.

The company’s latest model, Redmi 7A, managed to gain nearly 1.2 per cent of the global market share in the third quarter after its July launch.

iPhone 8

Apple saw a sharp dip of more than 14 per cent in sales, or more than 20 million fewer iPhones in the first nine months of the year. However, the iPhone 8, which was launched in 2017, continues to be one of the best-selling smartphones for tech giant. The company sold more than 13 million units during the first three quarters of 2019.

Oppo A5 and A9

Oppo’s low-end A5 and A9 phones, starting from Dh850, were the company's best-selling models this year. Together they grabbed nearly 3 per cent of the global market share in the third quarter.

Oppo, which started selling smartphones globally in 2008, is expanding into new markets in the Middle East and Western Europe.