Apple made the No. 1 and No. 2 smartphones in the world last year

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iPhone XR portrait mode
iPhone XR was the year's most popular handset.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone XR was the world’s most popular smartphone last year, claims market research firm Omdia. The iPhone 11 followed in second place.

In its Smartphone Model Market Tracker report, released Tuesday, Omdia says Apple shipped 46.3 million iPhone XR handsets in 2019. That’s more than double the 23.1 million units it shipped in 2018 (although it was only released on October 26 that year.)

The next top-selling iPhone was the iPhone 11, which sold approximately 9 million fewer units (37.3 million) than the iPhone XR. However, like the 2018 sales of the iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 only launched at the end of 2019.

Omdia's chart of bestselling phones
How smartphone shipments broke down last year.
Photo: Omdia

The iPhone XR was the year’s top-selling handset

“Apple has consistently owned the first and second positions in the global smartphone model shipment ranking, with the company maintaining this dominant position for more than five years running,” said Jusy Hong, smartphone research and analysis director at Omdia. “By limiting the number of models it offers compared to its top competitors, Apple has been able to concentrate its sales on a few smartphones that have broad appeal, like the iPhone XR.”

Samsung took the number three, four and five spots with its Galaxy A10, Galaxy A150, and Galaxy A20 handsets. The iPhone 11 Pro Max followed with annual shipments of 17.6 million. The iPhone 8 came next with 17.4 million shipments.

While Apple must surely be happy with its leading position, however, not all the news was good. Apple’s overall shipments declined for the second consecutive year. It dropped 4.6% in 2019, following a 5.1% decline in 2018. That serves as the perfect reminder of why Apple continues to gradually ramp up the price of iPhones. It’s also trying to squeeze more cash out of customers via subscription services such as Apple Music and Apple Arcade.

With record amounts of money, the strategy certainly seems to be paying off, though.