iPhone 5s continues reign as world's best-selling smartphone, Galaxy S5 who?

The iPhone 5s has been on the market for nearly 9 months, and in that time it has reigned as the best selling smartphone around the world. For nine months straight, in any given quarter, no phone has sold more units than the iPhone. Or so says Counterpoint Technology Research Firm. That's especially impressive when you consider that in our modern technology world, the iPhone 5s is now "old" and our attention has turned to the hotly-anticipated iPhone 6. And considering how many challengers have come along and threatened to dethrone the aging 5s, most notably the Samsung Galaxy S5, it's even more impressive.

That Samsung Galaxy S5 did come in second, though. And Samsung also snapped up the #3 and #4 positions with the Galaxy S4 and Note 3. The next two slots were occupied by the iPhone 5c and iPhone 4s. When you look at the top ten smartphones for the last quarter, globally Apple and Samsung account for all but two.

It's safe to say that in three months (or so) the #1 slot dominance of the iPhone 5s will come to an end. Of course, that's because it will be replaced by the iPhone 6, which leads to our question: what does the iPhone 6 need to grab and secure the top-selling smartphone slot for another year?

Source: Counterpoint Technology Research Firm; Via: Business Insider

Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

  • It's unfortunate that Apple and Samsung have a hold on 8 of the 10 spots when there so many other great products out there.
  • I agree. HTC deserves to be on the list (meaning more people should be buying their stuff) with the One M8, and I don't know about the G3 but the G2 is a mighty fine phone as well. The Moto X is so cheap off-contract I'm surprised it's not on there.
  • The G3 is amazing! A major improvement from the already great G2 Sent from the iMore App
  • If I were to go back to Android, it would be HTC One all the way. It looks great with a premium build and quality.
  • Don't tell the jokers posting on c|net that. They were all reacting to a report about Samsung's next wonder phone coming in lieu of the iPhone 6. I happened to mentioned that I thought it was such a knee jerk reaction and the claws came out. What idiots. Samsung releases how many 4 phones a year these days and still getting kicked in the nuts by Apple. Sent from the iMore App
  • This is definitely what I think of that silly iphone. Samsung rules period nothing else matters.. m.youtube.com/watch?v=vHIMF5nf_Gk From my Galaxy Note 3 via iMore App
  • Been on my iPhone all day, my cousins Note 3 won't last until lunch. He is a heavy user, but all phone batteries can be killed before lunch regardless of the maker.
  • I own both iPhone 5S and the Note 3. My Note 3 runs all day long every day running my construction business. I'm using the S-Pen all day long. The battery on my Note 3 lasts all day long without any charge. I charge it at night, at around 10:00pm I'm at 20%, that is with very heavy use. Your cousin or you are telling stories. The Noted 3 has great battery life, it has a huge ass battery. My iPhone 5S, which I love will last me till 4:30pm, Im on empty by that time. No phone can compete with the Note 3 battery performance unless you are on Sprint seeking for a signal which will kill a car battery.
  • I don't think you read my comment. I didn't say anything bad about the Note 3 I said any phone battery can be drained before lunch.
  • "...my cousin's Note 3 won't last until lunch . . ." which part of that did he misunderstand?
  • I have a 5s, and if I could have another phone to go alongside with it I would have a note 3 as well Sent from the iMore App
  • I have a Galaxy Mega and the last time I charged the thing was Monday...
  • sorry luthor4, cant kill my droid maxx by lunch no matter how hard I try . . .
  • Pointless point of view, you're not providing a balanced argument. It's not the iPhone thats silly, it's your poor attitude.
  • I'll give you a better phone, The HTC ONE M8 the better experience, until iPhone 6 comes out? Sent from the iMore App
  • G2 has an awesome battery as well.
  • And the G3 got even better! #mindblowing Sent from the iMore App
  • Samsung sucks. HTC is light years ahead of Samshit Posted with the HTC M8 via the iMore App
  • Apple would definitely kick Samsung's balls.
    If Samsung had any balls.
  • I wonder, is there any journalist out there that can make a professional, and especially unbiased, analysis of why people simply got stuck on Apple/Samsung and just don't give a hoot about any of the other choices of OS's or devices available? Are their products really that good? are they so overwhelmingly better than, say, HTC, Nokia/Microsoft, Sony, Blackberry or LG?
  • Are their products really that good?
    -Yes, yes they are. Are they so overwhelmingly better than, say, HTC, Nokia/Microsoft, Sony, Blackberry or LG?
    -No, no they are not. But their marketing of their products is.
  • Yup, you got it. The majority of people can not tell you why they have the phone/OS they have or why one is better than another aside from some surface things. iOS and Android have reached a point where, for most people, it doesn't matter which one they get as far as function goes. This is especially true in the Android market where I doubt most people could tell you why they have a Galaxy instead of any other device but would be able to tell you why they didn't pick an iPhone (though not nearly articulate it as well as someone who frequents Android Central - that is an important distinction). While I don't like Samsung's devices very much they are by no means bad and for most consumers no other Android OEM's devices are THAT much better that it is easy for me to say that Samsung doesn't deserve to be where they are.
  • You're not a tech savvy person. You're going to buy one of these new-fangled things called smart phones. Are you going to get one of those obscure brands or are you going to get what your close friend or relative owns, you know the friend or relative who has been your free tech support as far back as when you needed to set the clock on your VCR?
  • Sony is obscure? Microsoft is obscure? I don't think the notability of the brand is the bigger issue here, the "coolness" of the brand perhaps is.
  • In the smartphone world they are very obscure. Sony moreso than Microsoft really. Speaking solely on US adaptation.
  • Not really. Sent from the iMore App
  • I agree with Illustrator Joe to a great extent. Marketing plays a BIG role in any field.. And who knows marketing better than Apple? Even BlackBerry has few great devices but marketing..? Zilch ..! Sent from the iMore App
  • Exactly. I would have no problem rocking any flagship phone. They all do pretty much the same thing, just in different ways. Right now I have a GS4 and an Icon but that GS4 is going on swappa as soon as the iphone6 drops. Nothing against android but the imo the best user experiences are on ios and wp.
  • You clearly haven't used HTC. Posted with the HTC M8 via the iMore App
  • Oh I have. The M8 is nice as well, just does nothing for me.
  • Marketing only gets you at best the first sale. If your product is crappy, the customer ain't ever coming back to you. And all the marketing you can throw at the consumer will not beat your disgruntled ex-customers' word of mouth as they warn everyone they know to stay away from your lousy product.
  • You are right.... In my country,lots of people were using Samsung as their main device.... That is, until they realized samsung's devices are sucks... Still lag and shit... So,most of them has moved on to LG and Lenovo as their main Android device.... Some of them wanted better user experience, so they moved on to iOS products... I was in the latter group... Sent from the iMore App
  • Exactly. Apple and Samsung are retaining customers so they are getting an important part of their experience right.
  • This is true. Probably why the galaxy s5 has such poor sales. People like me that bought the gs4 won't make that mistake again.
  • If someone wants an iPhone there's one flagship choice. If they want an android phone however there's many flagships to choose from. In fact if they're tech save they're probably less likely to choose a Samsung phone.
  • Very true point. There are too many great options for Android users. iPhone users have 1 real choice each year.
  • I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the iPhone 5S sales also includes sales of the original iPhone 5. In which case, a fair comparison would be to combine the sales of the GS4 with the GS5 and then see who comes out on top!!
  • Apple has discontinued the iPhone 5. I'm not sure why you'd think 5s sales would be grouped up with 5 sales. They're two distinctly different models, why would they be counted together? He also specifically says that the number one spot is taken by the 5s. So obviously, iPhone 5 sales (there aren't any anyways) aren't counted.
  • Samsung's TouchWiz makes me want to puke. How Samsung can take that ugly powerhouse of a phone and make the UI lag is frightening. Apple deserves praise for having a phone far superior in user experience than Samsung's underwhelming piece of junk. HTC One M8 all the way! Posted via iMore App
  • It'd be interesting to see the actual sales figures. Of course, if you go to Counterpoint's website, you have to pay for it. Sure the iPhone 5s is the number 1 in terms of sales, but Samsung offers more flagship phones at any given time. I think a true measure would be to see how the total sales between the Galaxy S5 and Note 3 compared to the iPhone 5s sales. That way you're truly comparing the total number of purchases of Apple/iOS and Samsung/Android at flagship prices. Posted via my Galaxy Note 3 on the Android iMore App
  • Exactly. And it will be helpful to get region (country?) wise break-up. And how many of those markets in which iPhone rules have no carrier subsidies?
  • Yeah, Counterpoint really offers very little information on how they even conducted their analysis. I'd like to see the full report but I'm not about to pay them for it.
  • What? This is a comparison of phones, model by model. What you are effectively saying is to group up TWO models and then compare their sum to a SINGLE model. Any way you put it, that isn't a fair comparison, and the logic doesn't make sense. It... defeats the purpose and definition of a model to model comparison. The S5 and the Note 3 are two different phones and have their own independent sales numbers.
  • It would be funny though if iPhone is far enough ahead to beat them both. His point is ridiculous though, a total reach to justify Samsungs position.
  • In addition to my response to boeingrules which applies to your comment too, I wouldn't be surprised if iPhone 5s has more sales than the S5 and Note 3 combined. I never stated that I disagreed with them not including them together, just that it would be interesting to see them combined. I'm sorry if suggesting another way to do a different analysis that may have more meaningful results has offended you.
  • I think you're missing my point. What I would like to see, which is not the point of this analysis, is how Apple and Samsung's sales number compare at the high end. There are plenty of users who like iOS and have a significant investment in that ecosystem, and want the latest smartphone, so they purchase an iPhone 5s. If they wanted a larger screen size, they're out of luck and wind up with a 4" iPhone 5s. Then there are plenty of users who like Android, have a significant investment in that ecosystem, and happen to prefer Samsung. Now if one of these users wants a larger screen size than the S5, they have that option by purchasing the Note 3. If the Note 3 did not exist, many of these users may purchase an S5 instead, which would boost those sales numbers. Samsung is effectively cannibalizing the individual sales numbers of their devices by offering the consumer more choices at the high end. I understand that this analysis is a model by model comparison. Did I say I thought they should have grouped them together? No, all I suggested was that I thought it would be interesting to see how many people have chosen to purchase a high end Apple smartphone vs a high end Samsung smartphone. In order to do that, you need to combine the S5 and Note 3 sales numbers. And if/when Apple releases iPhone 6 in 4.7" and 5.5" screen sizes, it would be interesting to compare their combined sales figures vs the combined S5/Note 4 sales too.
  • Agree with you 100%. I have always said this and surprisingly not many people see this as a valid argument or fail to notice that comparing apple to Samsung isn't that simple as just comparing the 5s to s5. As you alluded too in your comment if you want a flagship apple device you must get the 5s where as if you want a flagship Samsung phone there's the note and S line and if you looking at it from a would wide point there's devices like the s5 lte or the active s5 etc. Now another way you can look at is this if you want a ios phone period you must get the iPhone. If you want a Android phone period you don't have have to get Samsung, you can HTC, LG don't etc etc so I don't think it's that simple as just saying compare apple to Samsung on device to device bases as obviously of you want a ios device every single sale 100% goes to apple and if you want a Android phone every single sale is isn't guaranteed to go to Samsung. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • Who cares? Sells don't prove who has the best product. If so the HTC One M8 would be the number 1 phone. Posted with the HTC M8 via the iMore App