Samsung’s entry-level smartphone was the best-selling in 2021

Counterpoint Research has revealed the Samsung Galaxy A12 to be the most popular Android phone globally last year. This is in accordance with their global monthly handset model sales tracker that saw the budget device place 6th worldwide, alongside mostly premium handsets from Apple.

The top ten best-selling smartphones in 2021 are as follows;

  1. Apple iPhone 12 – 2.9%
  2. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max – 2.2%
  3. Apple iPhone 13 – 2.1%
  4. Apple iPhone 12 Pro – 2.1%
  5. Apple iPhone 11 – 2.0%
  6. Samsung Galaxy A12 – 2.0%
  7. Xiaomi Redmi 9A – 1.9%
  8. Apple iPhone SE 2020 – 1.6%
  9. Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max – 1.3%
  10. Xiaomi Redmi 9 – 1.1%

Compared to 16% in 2020, the top ten selling models contributed to 19% of the total global smartphones unit sales in 2021. The research company attributes this growth to the “trend of brands focusing on their leading models and making their portfolios leaner.”

The Galaxy A12 was singled out as one of the few devices that saw demand from consumers in almost all regions, with North America, Latin America, and Western Europe being its top markets.

An affordable price of less than USD 200 (about Kshs 22,000 at current exchange rates) while having the commitment of Samsung to offer longer software support compared to other budget offerings in the same price range made the Galaxy A12 a tempting device to purchase.

Other factors also made the budget device popular, including six memory configurations, starting with the most affordable variant with 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage up to the most high-end variant boasting 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage.

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This versatility in the configurations made it easy for the Galaxy A12 to suit a wide range of people, compared to other Android devices that typically ship with three or fewer memory configurations.

Despite the positives, The Samsung Galaxy A12 has a few drawbacks, including lacklustre horsepower compared to rivals in the same price range, secondary cameras that do not do a particularly good job in low light, and relatively slow charging at only 15W.

Xiaomi was the only other Android OEM that made the top 10 for 2021 with the Redmi 9A in seventh place and Redmi 9 in tenth. These two models combined to form 22% of Xiaomi’s total smartphone shipments last year, with the Chinese company’s key markets being China, India, and Asia Pacific.

The Redmi 9 and 9A have a lot in common with the Galaxy A12 both in terms of price and performance, indicating that the budget market for Android devices is where the highest demand lies.

Shifting gears to Apple, the iPhone SE 2020 was their most affordable model in 2021 and this affordable pricing definitely made it appealing, which translated to the device placing 8th.

Counterpoint Research believes that the anticipation for 5G upgrades in combination with a loyal iOS user base and the push from carriers in key markets (USA and UK) led to the iPhone 12 series selling extremely well.

This is also being seen with the iPhone 13 series as the iPhone 13 was the best-selling model in Q4 2021 closely followed by the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro.

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While it may seem that Android devices are struggling to keep up with Apple, this might not be actually the case. This is because Android manufacturers offer significantly more models than Apple, which makes Android sales to be distributed over a wide range of devices, making it difficult for a few to top the best-selling charts.

Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at Twitter @KarisNaftaly

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