The lower and mid segments rule

Not surprisingly, the top ten phones of the year are mostly from the mid and lower segments of the market. Of the top ten, three (the Samsung Galaxy A10, the Oppo A5s and the Xiaomi Redmi 7A) were from roughly the lower segment, while four (the Samsung Galaxy A50, the Oppo A9, the Samsung A20, and the Oppo A5) were from broadly what can be called the mid-segment. Interestingly, the top ten smartphones contributed 17 percent of the total sales, up from 15 percent at the same time last year. However, the revenue contributed by them declined by 30 percent year on year. Which takes us to the next point…

…as the flagships decline?

The revenue contributed by the top ten bestselling models declined in Q3 2019, even as their contribution in terms of actual numbers went up. This was partly because the number of premium devices in the top ten came down from five in Q3 2018 to three in Q3 2019. As per Counterpoint, this could be because what were considered to be premium device features have now started to be increasingly available in mid-segment ones. Interestingly, though, two of the top five were from the premium segment. Cue the next point.

The iPhone XR remains number one

The iPhone XR’s dominance of the premium segment of the smartphone market has perhaps been THE story of the year – the phone has been the bestselling phone in the year since Q4 2018. And the third quarter of 2019 saw the device continue its run, emerging as the highest-selling smartphone of the quarter, and accounting for 3 percent of the total sales. Interestingly, the other premium device in the top five is also an iPhone, the newly released iPhone 11.

Samsung has three phones, all A series…

None of Samsung’s flagships – the S series or the Note – made it to the top ten. But the brand’s A series benefited from a price drop (with Counterpoint stating that the brand benefited from the discontinuation of the J series, becoming more affordable and still having a more premium perception than the J series), and accounted for two of the five devices in the top five – the budget A10 and the mid-segment A50 (the best-specced mid-segment device in the top ten), both of which combined sold almost as many units as the iPhone XR and iPhone 11. The brand’s third device in the top ten was the mid-segment A20. Samsung is indeed making itself comfortably in the very competitive mid-segment and is believed to have grabbed some of Honor’s share.

…and so (exactly) has Oppo

Samsung was not the only brand to score big with an A series. Chinese brand Oppo also had three phones in the top ten, and by some coincidence, they too were from its own A series. The one that fared best (and was fourth overall) was the Oppo A9, which was the most expensive of the three devices. The other two devices were the mid-segment A5, and its lower specced and more affordable variant, the Oppo A5s.

“Smart India’s Smartphone” gets into the top ten!

Its Note series might be making waves in India, but when it comes to global sales, Xiaomi’s sole representative in the top ten was, well, a phone with an A in it (clearly A is the most popular letter in phone models in the top ten). This was its low-end Redmi 7A, which Xiaomi had released and marketed in India as “smart desh ka smartphone” (the smartphone of the smart country). It was perhaps the most affordable phone in the top ten.

Number two globally, but Huawei has only one phone in there

Huawei might have had an incredibly strong Q3 2019, selling more smartphones than everyone else apart from Samsung, but it had just one phone in the top ten. This was the premium P30 which was launched earlier in the year and came with Google services. It would seem to indicate that its increased sales of late are spread over a number of models, rather than a few “star” products. Even as the issue with Google (or rather the US Government) continues to simmer, it is going to be interesting to see how well the brand does, going forward.

More than One(Plus) notable absentee…Real(me)ly

The absence of brands like Nokia, Realme, and Motorola from the top ten came as a bit of a surprise when you consider that Q3 was a quarter in which low and mid-segment devices did well – and all three have some very good devices in those segments. Truth be told, we also expected more representatives from Xiaomi and perhaps at least one from Vivo. And while the premium segment devices lost some share, it was interesting to see not a single OnePlus device in the top ten.

Any stock Android or Android One devices?

Well…no. Not even one.

The iPhone 11 era cometh?

The era of the dominance of the iPhone XR might be coming to an end if the report is any indication. The iPhone 11, which was released at a surprisingly affordable price (by iPhone standards) had already shot to fifth place even though it had been in the market for a very limited amount of time. If that is any indication, the next quarter could see it surge to the front and if not displace, then at least provide a stiff challenge to the iPhone XR. The newer iPhone 11 Pro could also make it to the top ten, given the fact that it was released towards the end of the third quarter.