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iPhone Named World's Most Popular Smartphone Last Year

iPhone was the world's most popular smartphone last year, in terms of global shipments, according to research firm IHS Markit.


iPhone 6s took the top spot as the most-shipped smartphone in the world in 2016, trailed by the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus, based on research from IHS Markit's Smartphone Shipment Database, which tracks quarterly shipment data for more than 350 smartphone models.

Samsung's Galaxy S7 edge took the fifth spot, followed by the low-cost Galaxy J3 and several other Samsung smartphones, including the Galaxy S7. Notably absent was the Galaxy Note7, which was recalled last year due to safety concerns after some units were found to have defective batteries.

Apple's lead over Samsung is impressive given that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge were launched in March 2016, around six months prior to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in September. The mid-range Galaxy J3, Galaxy J5, and Galaxy J7 also preceded the latest iPhone models when they launched in April 2016.


The above chart makes it hard to determine exactly how many shipments each smartphone model had, but it looks like the iPhone 6s was around 60 million, while the Galaxy S7 edge and most other Samsung smartphones are around the 25 million mark. IHS declined our request for specific shipment figures.

An earlier version of the chart had the iPhone 6s Plus labeled twice. IHS Markit has corrected this mistake and sent us the new chart shown above.

Oppo's A53, a popular smartphone in markets such as China and India, was the only smartphone not manufactured by Apple or Samsung to make the list. Huawei, the world's third largest smartphone maker after Samsung and Apple, did not have any of the top ten smartphones shipped last year, IHS said.

Apple's iPhone 6s was similarly declared the world's most-shipped smartphone in the second quarter of 2016 by research firm Strategy Analytics, ahead of the iPhone 7, and if IHS Markit's data is accurate, then Apple's last-generation smartphone remained most popular through to the end of last year.

It is important to acknowledge that these are estimated figures, and that shipments do not necessarily reflect sales. Apple does not break out iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis in its quarterly earnings results.

Related Roundups: iPhone 6s, iPhone 7
Tag: IHS
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

5 weeks ago
Still the best by a huge distance, despite the flaws.
Rating: 10 Votes
5 weeks ago

shipping-numbers suddenly important again? ;)

They are with Apple because shipped is sold, unlike with the others. Unlike the knockoffs these aren't sitting around hoping to be purchased.
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yeah, that's not a good sign...I liked it better when they focused on the products and not the numbers, but Tim is a numbers guy (sigh) :(

Good thing the 7 is also the best iphone I've ever used, and I've owned every one except the orig.

But yeah keep pushing the bogus narrative that there's nobody at apple on the design teams. Just Cook, all by his lonesome. He sure is lucky these crappy products magically sell themselves!
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What about market share? Suddenly that's not important?

It never has been. Profit is the air corporations breathe, not market share. You can't build your company unless you're taking in profit, market share alone means nothing -- that's why all the iknockoffs are nobodys.
Rating: 10 Votes
5 weeks ago
The best smartphone ever :-............... iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black

......... and not the red one:mad:

Rating: 9 Votes
5 weeks ago

Another paid marketing disguised as research much like JD Edwards. You can pay these marketing firms to claim your company is #1 at anything.


Please post evidence/links to back up your claim that this is paid marketing disguised as research. Thank you.
Rating: 7 Votes
5 weeks ago
So popular the iphone 6s plus is ranked twice ?
Rating: 5 Votes
5 weeks ago

What about market share? Suddenly that's not important?


It was never important. If you sell two items to my one and you make $5 per item and I make $15, I'm still winning. It's not like it's had a negative effect on the app market either. Android makes no one any money, so developers still make iOS apps first.
Rating: 5 Votes
5 weeks ago

I think it is interesting that shipments of s7 and s7 edge were almost same but with iPhones, the older, discounted iphone 6s shipped the most. That doesn't line up with the narrative that iphone users are rich.


The iPhone 7 was only available for about 15 weeks of 2016, the iPhone 6S was available for the entire year.
Rating: 4 Votes
5 weeks ago
And yet people think Apple is doomed :rolleyes: i guess the only thing that can doom Apple is to much success by the looks of it.
Rating: 4 Votes
5 weeks ago

So popular the iphone 6s plus is ranked twice ?


The first ranked device should probably be labelled iPhone 6s. It is well known that the non-plus models sell in noticeably higher quantities than the Plus variants (even if this has shifted a bit with the iPhone 7).


Yeah that seems to be most logical. A bit embarrassing for whoever wrote the article though.


I find the authors total failure to mention the chart is mislabeled to be odd.

Also the fact that they had a tooltip visible in their screenshot...


IHS Markit has corrected this mistake and sent us a new chart which is now shown in the article. Thanks all.
Rating: 4 Votes
5 weeks ago

The best smartphone ever :-............... iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black

......... and not the red one:mad:

Agree 1 million percent! I love mine. I hope there is always a jet black variant.
Rating: 4 Votes

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