I don’t think it’s any surprise that Apple and Samsung dominate the smartphone market these days. But a recent report from Counterpoint Research confirms that fact — and offers a few interesting details that I hadn’t necessarily expected.

The report examines the top 10 smartphone models sold in 2019.

First up, only one of those phones came from a company other than Apple or Samsung (it was Chinese company Oppo).

Second, Apple claimed 6 of the 10 spots, despite the fact that the company has a relatively limited selection of phone models compared with rivals like Samsung.

And third… Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones didn’t make the list at all, despite the fact that they’re the company’s flagship-class phones that tend to grab the most attention from journalists (which is probably correlated with the amount of money Samsung spends advertising and promoting those high-priced devices).

Instead, Samsung’s top-selling phones were members of the mid-range Galaxy A series, including the Galaxy A10, A20, and A50. These phones tend to have a mix of premium and mid-range features, which means you get things like OLED displays, fingerprint sensors, and two or more cameras… but they may lake some of the design elements of their higher-priced siblings.

So I suppose it shouldn’t actually be surprising that Galaxy A phones sell better than Galaxy S or Note models. They probably represent a better value proposition for many customers. It’s only surprising because I spend too much time on the internet reading tech blogs and press releases.

From that standpoint, it also probably shouldn’t be a surprise that while the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max made the list, they were both outsold by the iPhone XR and older models including the iPhone 7 and 8… probably because they’re cheaper.

Meanwhile, some companies that didn’t make the list are still selling a lot of units. Counterpoint notes that Huawei is the “second-largest player in the global smartphone sales” market, but that’s because the company sells a large quantity of a bunch of different phone models. No one phone model from Huawei is in the top 10 list for 2019.

Another fun fact: the figures above all relate to global sales. If you look at the North American market, Apple had the top 5 spots. In Europe, things were mixed a bit more between Apple and Samsung. And in China, Apple and Samsung didn’t even make the top 5 list, which was dominated by Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei.

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  1. I’m not surprised at all that Samsung’s Galaxy S series or Note series phones aren’t on the list. Asking $1000 to $1600 for a phone is just silly. The average consumer will either buy something based on its brand/lifestyle appeal (Apple), or based on perceived value (everything else). Samsung’s flagship phones fit neither of those.

    I hope Samsung changes course in the North American market. We don’t get enough of their lower cost phones here.

  2. Makes sense most people are buying the cheaper phones. There’s a limit where most people won’t pay for just a phone and that’s been reached based on these numbers.

    I anecdotally don’t see that many people carrying around these flagship phones unless they got an older generation flagship on sale or used.

    – Posted from my iPhone SE because it’s cheap AND small.

  3. As long as there is so much value in the $100-$300 price range (I bought my much loved Moto X4 about a year ago on sale for $140) I for one will never spend the kind of money many of these phones cost (>$600 if not far more) on a smartphone. If I had a dollar for every time I saw someone only use a $800+ smartphone for Facebook/Instagram/Candy Crush, well I guess I could afford one of those phones for myself, not that I would actually buy one!
    To each their own though, spend your money how you want. I just can’t believe how many people I have seen regularly struggle to pay their bills but always have the latest phones.

    1. Yeah, I’m on my fourth phone since I bought my first feature phone (the Motorola SLVR umpteen years ago), all of them refurbished for under half price. Even if you want something with near flagship specs, there’s no real need to spend more than $250 on a flagship device that’s little more than 18 months old. The Galaxy S9 is barely a year from being Samsung’s current flagship and you can already pick up a renewed (as new) model from Amazon for $270.

  4. I picked up a Samsung A20 last year. I would have gone for the A10, but the store didn’t have any in stock.