Research firm, Omdia, has released its list of highest selling phones in the world in the first half of the year (H1 2020). And while some of the devices in the list will not surprise too many, the presence/absence of some others will raise some eyebrows. So without further ado, let us take a look at the highlights of the report:

apple and xiaomi dominate the highest selling phones list in 2020, as samsung fades a little - iphone 11 iphone 11 pro 6

Apple rules

Of the ten highest selling phones of 2020, Apple has five – the iPhone 11 at number one with a staggering 37.7 million units, the iPhone SE (2020) at number 5 with 8.7 million units, the iPhone XR at six 8 million units, the iPhone 11 Pro Max at seven with 7.7 million units and the iPhone 11 Pro at ten with 6.7 million units.

But Xiaomi springs a surprise

Apple having a number of devices in the top ten is not too much of a surprise. But what IS a surprise is Xiaomi having four devices in the list. These are the Redmi Note 8 at three with 11 million units, the Redmi Note 8 Pro at four with 10.2 million units, the Redmi 8A at seven with 7.3 million units, and the Redmi 8 at nine with 6.8 million units. At this time last year, Redmi had just two devices in the top ten. It has effectively doubled that number.

Samsung at second place…and nowhere else

A big surprise is a fact that Samsung that usually had a number of devices in this list (it had four last year) is down to a single representative. Mind you, it is very high. The Galaxy A51 was the world’s second-highest selling smartphone with 11.4 million units. The absence of other Samsung devices from the list is a surprise, given how strongly the brand performed in India and the fact that it launched its S series flagship range and also lite versions of the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10.

iPhone 11 is THE boss

In case you did not notice it, the iPhone 11 was the overwhelming number one in terms of sales in this period. It sold 37.7 million units, which was not only more than any other phone, but more than the combined sales of the phones at number two, three, and four – the Galaxy A51, the Redmi Note 8, and the Redmi Note 8 Pro.

iPhone SE makes a very strong debut

apple and xiaomi dominate the highest selling phones list in 2020, as samsung fades a little - omdia best selling phones

Apple had surprised some folks when it released the iPhone SE in April. Priced at USD 399, it was easily the most affordable relatively new iPhone in the market. And just how well it performed can be gauged by the fact that even though it was launched in the fourth month of the year, it racked up enough sales to be in the top ten. In fact, of all the phones in the list, the iPhone and Galaxy A71 are the ones that were released in 2020. Most of the others were released in late 2019.

Redmi Note goes global

The Redmi Note series has been a bestseller in the Indian market, but it now seems to be making an impact internationally too. Both the Redmi Note 8 and the Redmi Note 8 Pro made it to not just the list of top ten phones but were actually in the top five.

The missing names (and one of them is a number one!)

As always, the brands that did NOT make the top ten generated as much interest as those that did. While Samsung’s representation fell dramatically, other absentees from the top ten included Oppo (which had the A5 in the top five at this time last year), Vivo, Motorola, LG, OnePlus, Nokia, and Google (will the Pixel 4a change things?). We were not as surprised by the absence of Huawei, given its legal issues, but then considering it was the number one globally thanks to strong sales in China, we did expect a device or two to make the top ten!

What sells more: premium, mid or low price?

The list of top ten devices provides a fascinating mix of premium and mid and low segment devices. All of Apple’s iPhones are obviously premium (the most affordable is ONLY USD 399), while the Redmi Note series and the Galaxy A51 are more mid-segment (USD 200- USD 300), and the Redmi 8 and 8A are definitely more towards the lower end at around USD 100. So we have a top ten that has five premium phones, three mid and upper mid-segment phones and two low-end phones.

In the case of the iPhone, it is interesting to note that the highest selling iPhone is not the most affordable one – the XR and SE come with lower price tags and yet even their combined sales cannot match the iPhone 11. Similarly, the much higher priced iPhone 11 Po Max has outsold the more affordable 11 Pro. Move that to Xiaomi and the more expensive Note 8 and Note 8 Pro have outsold the much more affordable 8 and 8A.

So what really gets a phone on the bestseller list: premium, mid-segment, or low pricing? We still do not know. Let’s see what the second half of this wild, wild year shows us.

Was this article helpful?