In terms of shipments, the iPhone 6s from Apple bested all competitors for sales in 2016, according to new analysis from IHS Markit.
If looking at the fourth quarter alone, the new iPhone 7 was the 2016 best-seller, followed by iPhone 7 Plus, based on research from the IHS Markit Smartphone Shipment Database, which tracks quarterly shipment data for more than 350 smartphone models.
Apple again has demonstrated that its new iPhones integrate enough innovations and new features to drive sales and remain successful in the market. The company is also capable of selling older devices for an extended period of time. For instance, the year-old iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were both among the most-shipped models in 2016.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and S7 ranked fifth and ninth, respectively. Sales of these two devices have outperformed their immediate predecessors, S6 and S6 Edge: the combined shipments of S7 and S7 Edge in 2016 were 10 million higher than S6 and S6 Edge over the same period.
Impact of Note 7 recall
The Note 7 recall has left S7 and S7 Edge, released in March 2016, the best flagships in the premium line-up of Samsung. Since then, the market has seen a series of premium smartphones by other companies. Samsung’s ability to drive the sales of older premium devices was impressive. Aggressive promotions, which included bundling with Gear VR, helped sales of S7 and S7 Edge.
Samsung claimed five spots out of the top 10 most-shipped smartphones in 2016. Excluding the aforementioned S7 and S7 Edge, the remaining three models all belong to the mid-tier J series. The company has seen shipment unit gains in the mid to low-tier segment, relative to 2015, due to growth in emerging markets.
Huawei, the third largest smartphone maker after Apple and Samsung, did not have any models in the top 10 most-shipped smartphones in 2016. Similar to Samsung, Huawei continues to address multiple smartphone pricing segments – either with its own Huawei-branded handsets or with those of its sub-brand, Honor. In the premium segment, Huawei’s P9 was among its own top five most-shipped smartphone models in 2016, performing better than previous flagships.
Chinese manufacturer OPPO had one model on the top ten ranking. In 2016, OPPO posted growth of 109 percent in smartphone shipments to become the fourth largest smartphone maker in terms of unit shipment, up from the seventh spot in 2015. Unlike Huawei, OPPO has a smaller product portfolio and operates in fewer markets, with more than 80 percent of the company’s 2016 shipments within its home market of China.