The Apple iPhone 6s was the best selling smartphone for 2016, according to a new research

According to British research firm IHS Markit, Apple has managed to trounce its competitors over the last calendar year. The company's latest analysis reveals that iPhones were the most shipped handsets on a global basis during 2016. 

IHS Markit tracks quarterly shipment statistics for more than 350 smartphones, and their data puts the iPhone 6s as the best selling smartphone of 2016. The iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and 6s Plus respectively sit at number 2, 3, and 4. The research firm attributes this to Apple's success in selling older handsets for an extended period of time, while also integrating "enough innovations and new features" to stimulate greater sales of its newest devices in order to remain successful in the market. 

The other spots in the top 10 are mainly occupied by Samsung. The best selling South Korean model is the Galaxy S7 edge which sits on number 5 with about 25 million units shipped. The smaller S7 version is placed at number 9, while Oppo's A53, a popular device in China and India, is the only non-Apple or Samsung handset that is present on the chart.

Before we wrap things up, we feel obliged to clarify something: Although shipments are very much driven by consumer demand, it is important to note that they don't necessarily translate to actual products ending up in the hands of the end-consumer. Still, manufacturers make their hardware profits entirely out of shipments, and it really doesn't make sense for retailers to waste tons of money by hoarding excessive amounts of phones that no one is going to buy. Thus, these figures can do a good job in representing a handset's popularity, but they need to be interpreted in the correct way. 

source: IHS Markit via MacRumors



1. Unordinary unregistered

Wow by a long shot!

3. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 726; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

Apple is playing in its own league. We need a paradigm shift and stop comparing Apple to Android competition. We should rather compare within Android and take Apple separate.

5. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Thank you. I've been preaching that for ages now! Sure, you can compare spec sheets in a vacuum, just like vehicles. But once you get down to a technical level, Android vendors and Apple are not in the same league. That's a strictly sales based opinion BTW, not me fanboying. I mean look at that chart....all of Apple's phones are flagships selling that way. What the hell even is a J5 anyhow, and where does one purchase it?

31. willard12 unregistered

At what point, if ever, is a device no longer considered a "flagship"? If I buy an iphone 4 today, am I getting a "flagship"? Whatever the case, I hope the term "flagship" incorporates more than just the MSRP of a device or the MSRP at the time the device was originally sold versus 2 years later.

36. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Good question. I personally believe that as long as a phone is within two generations of release, then it's still a flagship. For example, the HTC One M9 is STILL a flagship in my eyes, even if it's flawed/outdated. In the iPhone's case, you could probably stretch that to three years, as the SoC in those phones making using them past a certain point more accessible. Plus they still get updates after the two year period is up. Tl;dr- If it gets updates and has a previously flagship level SoC you're golden.

45. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I don't agree. I would say a flagship remains such forever. It status is it was a flagship the year it came out. It is still in the same family of the phone. Apple single model is the iPhone. Thus to me an iPhoen 4 is simply an "older flagship". The iPhone SE is not a Flagship and never will be because it was never released as the main model. Just like the Note is its own flagship being the only phone of its type in its category. The Galaxy S is Samsung's Flagship period and thus every Galaxy S is its main model. Everything else Samsung makes even if it carries the "Galaxy" branding is not a flagship. For example in the military, if I am a General, if I leave as a General, whenever I visit, I am still call General because that was my last known call. It does not matter if 50 to 100 Generals came after me. I dont lose my General Status. Same as President Washington. It is still a President of this country even though more have followed. you dont lose your status because you were replaced. The iPhone is in a family of flagships. The SE and C are not flagships. They are subsequent later releases.

115. ColinW

Posts: 413; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

You can cherry pick your definition however you want, but a phone that is an older generation and had specs that are more than a year behind the market is not a flagship. Updates do not even come into it, Android is always ahead of IOS, which scrambles to catch up every year. Flagships are the latest and best models in a particular category that each OEM markets. They should be the makers "showcase" models for the latest and best features and functionality in both hardware and software.

42. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

You would be surprised J5 and J range in general selling like a hot cakes. I have a friend, manager, at EE UK. Even outselling Samsung flagships and any other phones. Not sure about Iphone because can't recall this part of our conversation but paradigm is shifting and people realising you don't have to spend a cow to buy a phone that would suit your essential needs.

49. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The fact of what phone sales is what you dont get. In country's outside the USA, the S/Note and iPhone dont sell as high, because carriers dont subsidize the cost. Here is a fact - People can afford almost anything, if given the time to pay. The vast majority of people in the world can't pay cash for a home. So how do these people get a home they didnt pay for? Its called credit. In the US if you have a minimum waged job you can afford any phone, if you are given time to pay for it. Carriers take the retail cost and spread it over 24 months making a expensive option affordable. So in this case, you dont have to buy what you can only pay cash for, you buy what you can afford to pay over time. You can compare US shoppers to others, because we have a credit system Many countries do not have this. In countries where you have to pay for a phone upfront, you see this in sales. Example, in all of India which has billions of people, Apple has a very small market because they don't have a system of credit. Some people are force to buy cheap phones, simply because they don't have the option to buy a phone by other means. In the US we are all assigned a Social Security number. This identifies you specifically as a "certain" person. Your credit is based on the fact you used this number as a reference to get credit and you have built up enough by paying over time and are allowed to get even more credit. If you don't pay, they have your social which allows them to take your money if you are salaried, or find you and sue you for the money. The fact is, even though many banks lose money, the vast majority always gets paid. Your claim is true of many country's. But not in North America. Canada and the US both have a system of credit.

56. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Read my post again.

51. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Yo. The Galaxy J5 is literally now the most popular Samsung phone outside of the flagship line.

54. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Yo. The Galaxy J5 is literally now the most popular Samsung phone outside of the flagship line.

55. TerryTerius unregistered

If I am totally honest, I never understood why people have wars over sales figures for various corporations anyway. As a consumer, it doesn't really matter one way or another. Well, revenue/profit is important if we're talking about companies being able to invest in R&D, customer service, and physical presence in brick-and-mortar stores. But that's basically it.

62. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I agree and disagree. Sure, the tribalism gets ridiculous on occasion, but that's simply a byproduct of human nature. People look for any/all avenue to prove themselves superior to is what it is, unfortunately. However, as you put it, economics is a circular mechanism. The amount of input by consumers helps in creating output by companies. Companies who see no benefit from sales or products indicating positive growth cease to exist, just like most entities in this world. What I'm trying to say is that emotional/economic investment is a two way street. If I like a product, and if the product is within feasible aspiration, I but it, therefore contributing to the cycle. If the experience turns out awful, my emotional investment diminishes, and vice versa. To;dr- Economics and the human investment are difficult... and I love that shirt in your new profile pic BTW.

144. AlikMalix unregistered

Terry, it's only here - it proves that whatever fanboys think is best isn't weighed by our nerdy needs - but instead measured by how well the manufacturer knows it's customer and how well they can build and price the device for them. Apple seems to know very close to what their target demographic needs, especially based on retention rates year in - year out. Samsung is the only manufacturer that can compete in that market and they're struggling compared to Apple - so they are forced to diversify with cheaper builds: they entice with flagship, but win over market share with low end. I try alternatives every two years - android is overhyped on these forums - and the sales figures is just proof!!! TLDR: basically we can argue what's the best device today - but it's the market that really decides which device is best!!!

154. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"TLDR: basically we can argue what's the best device today - but it's the market that really decides which device is best!!!" I disagree, @AlikMalix The market does not decided which device is best. By your logic, if another Android OEM happens to sell a device with low-end specs at the price of the iPhone and surpassing the iPhone's sales bumber in a year, does that mean the low-end Android device is the best? A single device model having the most sales numbers in the smartphone market is indicative of the device being more popular, not being the best out there. A device being the best is determined not by sales, but by it's performance, featureset, tech support, and also winning awards.

159. AlikMalix unregistered

Yes, that device that sells the most is the one that takes the crown!!! if it's a low end model with free android OS - it means they built a device worth the price What you and I think is best - is based on our needs and preferences and we can argue till cows come home... but it takes effort, risk, and critical thinking to build a device that everyone likes, price it right that everyone can afford, organize vendors to build enough to sell most than others (and we're talking 10's of millions at launch), and on top of that make a profit!!! Samsung has only one feature I like (s-pen, slightly better camera results), iPhone has more features I like (forcetouch, iMessage, best camera for video recording, as well as all Google Services (I make money on Youtube channel now) on top of Apple Services, including best ecosystem, and face-to-face support. It is the fastest device, better memory management, app permissions (I know that android added that, but lets be real, how many people still don't have marshmallow) You are right to disagree, but that's the point. Best phone is really subjective when it comes to features and performance - everyone has different preferences and needs. So the best only way to measure which device is best is to see how majority reacts... But, Trojan, I really appreciate your sound argument in that post, without namecalling and disrespect... cheers...

164. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"if it's a low end model with free android OS - it means they built a device worth the price." Oh... A typical low-end Android phone at the price of an iPhone isn't worth the price to me bruh... Like the Galaxy J5, it won't be the best to me, even if it happens to outsell the iPhone 7 at the same retail price ofthe iPhone 7. Cheers.

166. AlikMalix unregistered

I think you misunderstood... when I said "worth the price" meaning: priced appropriately... a low-end phone with a low-end price can easily knock apple off it's pedestal if it's build right, meaning: the pros heavily outweigh the cons. Every device has pro's and cons - it's the balance between for the majority of consumers what makes a certain device best for consumer because the market weighs PRICE against H/W & S/W DESIGN, ECOSYSTEM, PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE, CUSTOMER SUPPORT, FEATURES (not in particular order). Based on the study above, people find iPhone worth the price for now, some cheaper low-end device can take that place in months if designed and built to consumers liking for the right price...

168. Anonymous.

Posts: 423; Member since: Jun 15, 2016

"Based on the study above, people find iPhone worth the price for now, some cheaper low-end device can take that place in months if designed and built to consumers liking for theright price..." Have a look at the OnePlus 3 and 3T. It's Pros outweighs it's Cons, and all those flagship specs for just $400, it's definitely priced more than appropriately, yet it does not outsell Apple's iPhone 7/ 7 Plus, nor does it outsell Samsung' s S7/S7 edge... why? Your argument doesn't add up.

169. AlikMalix unregistered

Because specs isn't everything... and apparently it's not priced appropriately because it would sell better if it was... meaning: people would rather pay for something else, even would pay more, but choose an iPhone or a Galaxy... Why? Well preference, I guess... Some buy because it's iOS - they prefer iOS, some buy because the curved screen looks modern - they prefer modern phones. Some buy because of trust in a brand - most have no idea what OnePlus brand is and thus don't trust that customer support would be competent... My argument doesn't add up? You serious? let me break it down for you even further! According to data iPhone models sell most. It's got a unique ecosystem and has a price which is the same as other flagships but higher than OnePlus 3. OnePlus 3 has it's features, iPhone has it's own. People would rather pay more for iPhone and it's features than OnePlus 3 with a cheaper price. Just because you don't like Apple or iPhone - does not mean it's a wrong device for everyone - on contrary, according to article above most prefer that device, and OnePlus (even at a cheaper price) is NOT what most people are looking for. Seriously, am I talking to middle school kids? TLDR: If OnePlus 3 does not outsell iPhone and Samsung devices even if it's cheaper - because it's not a device most people want, trust, like.... It is manufacturers mission to build the right device that majority of people want to buy - Apple and Samsung knows their customer better than OnePlus. Would you like me to explain a million different ways? or do you get it now? People like Apple and Samsung more than OnePlus!!! I and millions of others would rather pay couple hundred more for an iPhone or Samsung than OnePlus 3. I like those phones better for many reasons. One Plus 3 can have 4 million features, but it doesn't have 3 that I need - no deal. Do you need more explanation? there's no argument, the data proves that iPhone and Samsung is preferred more than One Plus 3. It's not an argument it's a fact - I was giving my reasons for it - WTF doesn't add up to you?

181. ColinW

Posts: 413; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Your assumptions on Samsung are completely flawed. They have been active in all areas of the smartphone market, low, mid and high for many, many years, so it is silly, no stupid to suggest they were forced to diversify. If you understood what is happening in the marketplace you would know they are more under threat from the new Chinese OEMS than from Apple. Indeed they are a threat in the long term to Apple too. In terms of Android being overhyped, I think you need to switch that to iPhones and IOS. Most of the tech press especially in the west is basically in Apples pocket. That is very clear reading reviews and articles and it is well known that Apple controls the press by playing hardball if reviews are not favorable. The market does not decide what is the best product, it may decide which is the most popular, but that is far from the best. If it did you would have no case is saying IOS is better than Android, but I am sure you think IOS is the best.

138. ColinW

Posts: 413; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

No Android is not in the same league as IOS, it is ahead. This is not an Apple vs Samsung fight, it is IOS vs Android and the latter is clearly the leader by far. Looking at the figures in this report one huge alarm bell rings, Samsung shipped 25m s7's in the second quarter of 2016 and sales were boosted by taking up the slack of the Note 7 recall. Remember too you are looking at part of the picture there are many Android OEMS but only the top 10 are shown here. As you are including old iPhone models then you have to include a far wider range of Android phones too, the iPhone 6s specs are mid-range at best. Lets get the real, full picture first before you jump to conclusions.

146. AlikMalix unregistered

It does not include specifics handpicked devices - it inclides best selling devices for which Iphone devices from all that are available to buy in 2016 turned out to be on top. If you asked worse selling devices - iPhone would probably not be in the top 10. This is most sold from all devices available in 2016.

170. ColinW

Posts: 413; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

I believe the report if viewed in full includes many more devices. For me, I want to now how many Android phones of similar quality and specifications to iPhones are sold. One model is meaningless given the differences between Android (a multi-OEM operating system and IOS a single one).

178. ColinW

Posts: 413; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

I know that already. Why you need to see the whole list is to see how many Android phones shipped that are similar in specs and build to the iPhones. That way we get to see who is winning the high-end market sales race. Individual model sales does not make for good comparison

179. AlikMalix unregistered

Colin, I actually understand what you're getting at... and it makes sense what you're trying to prove... I would also like to see this. This may outnumber iphones but only by a slight margin, since Samsung Galaxy line dominates android flagship market share and their best S7 Edge falls behind 4 iPhones individually by a huge difference. The only other Android flagship that can supplement a little is LG and that isn't as popular brand as Samsung (again by a huge margin).. Don't forget, this is only for 2016 sold devices, individually measured against one another and apple dominates nearly half of top 10 and doubling the top android device... I'm sure if you move further to spots 11, 12, 13, 14... etc... among android devices you'll also see other Apple device such as 5s and SE adding to the pile and those are priced at nearly the same level as some android flagships... But yeah, I know what you mean....

174. civicsr2cool

Posts: 280; Member since: Oct 19, 2016

They also are catering to the "I don't want a phablet" crowd. The 7 and 6s are the only credible sub 5" phones available despite the OS. I had to break down and buy an SE this year because Android OEM's have abandoned regular sized phones. It's hard for the Android crowd to understand that 4 inch phones still dominate the market when they are focused on CPU and camera specs.

177. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"t's hard for the Android crowd to understand that 4 inch phones still dominate the market when theyare focused on CPU and camera specs." No, 4-inch phones definitely do not dominante the Android market... Phablets dominate. You're simply in the minority, if you prefer sub-5" phones.

8. toukale

Posts: 672; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

No one should be surprise by any of this, it's the reason why they corner the market so much in profits. This tells you how much of Samsung selling devices are low end models. It's the reason Apple's asp is $690 vs Samsung in the low $200 range.

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