iPhones Sweep Top 7 Spots In Smartphone Sales, Leaving No Place For Android Flagships

Apple has achieved an unprecedented feat by claiming the top seven positions in the global list of best-selling smartphones for 2023, according to Counterpoint Research's Global Monthly Handset Model Sales Tracker. While iPhones have always dominated these sales charts, 2023 marks the first time that seven different iPhone models made it into the list of top 10 most sold smartphones. The only semblance of competition came from Samsung, which had three of its smartphones in the list.

The iPhone 14 took the pole position as the most popular smartphone of 2023, driven by strong sales in the U.S. and China. India also played a role in the iPhone 14's popularity, with iPhone shipments breaching the 10 million mark for the first time in 2023. 

Interestingly, despite this impressive performance, the iPhone 14 only contributed to 19% of the total iPhone sales in 2023 — significantly down from the iPhone 13, which held a much healthier 28% share. The iPhone 14 Pro Max was the second most popular smartphone in 2023, while the iPhone 14 Pro grabbed the third spot. A surprising entry to the list was the iPhone 13, which grabbed the fourth spot.

Despite being released just a few months before the report was compiled, Apple's latest iPhone 15 lineup also made it to the list, with the iPhone 15 Pro Max (5th place), iPhone 15 Pro (6th place), and the iPhone 15 (7th place) making their presence felt. In fact, for the last quarter of 2023, the iPhone 15 Pro Max was the best-selling smartphone in the world.

Android flagships struggle, budget Androids flourish

Contrary to popular notion, it's not Samsung's flagship-grade smartphones that make it to the list of most sold smartphones. Instead of the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S23 series and the company's Galaxy Z Foldable series, you will see Samsung's sales figures being boosted by the company's lower priced A-series offerings.

The most popular Android smartphone in 2023 was the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G, a handset that sold in massive numbers in the U.S. and India. It was the eighth-most popular smartphone overall and also India's best-selling smartphone for 2023.

The 10th most popular smartphone in the world was also a variant of the Galaxy A14, albeit its LTE-only cousin called the Samsung Galaxy A14 4G. Completing this list of top 10 most popular phones is another entry-level Samsung — the Samsung Galaxy A04e — which made it to the ninth spot in the list of the most popular smartphones worldwide.

Nevertheless, the domination of Apple's iPhone and the absence of Android flagships in the top 10 raises concerns about the platform's appeal to premium consumers. It's likely that the only reason Samsung's lower-priced smartphones made it to the list was because of sheer affordability.

These numbers also highlight the massive issues that Samsung and the rest of the Android ecosystem have in appealing to the premium smartphone buyer. Unless the Android ecosystem undergoes a thorough shake-up in the coming years, perhaps these sales trends may not reverse any time soon.