Premium phones are more popular than ever and Apple is destroying the competition

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Apple has (once again) been crowned the market leader in premium smartphones and the Android competition isn’t even close. The news follows reports that the iPhone dominated the smartphone industry in the first quarter.

Almost two-thirds of all premium smartphones were iPhones

New data coming from a counterpoint research report reveals that Apple’s iPhone line accounted for 62% of global premium smartphone sales in the quarter ended March. In other words, nearly two-thirds of every premium smartphone sold was an iPhone. A premium smartphone is classified as any device priced at $400 or higher, meaning products such as the Galaxy A53 5G and iPhone SE are included. Compared to Q1 2021 when the Cupertino giant was high on the iPhone 12 and 5G wave, Apple’s share has increased by five percentage points and the gap with rivals like Samsung and Xiaomi has only widened.

So what do these numbers represent? First, they mark the second consecutive quarter in which: Apple’s share is above 60%. They also represent the iPhone’s highest Q1 result since 2017, when the iPhone 7 was considered new and the iPhone X was just a rumor.

Based on an individual device, the iPhone 13 – currently the world’s best-selling smartphone – has absolutely destroyed its rivals. Nearly one in four purchases can be attributed to the model, with a 23% share for the quarter.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max followed in second place with an additional 13% share and the smaller iPhone 13 Pro accounted for 9% of global sales. Together, these three iPhone 13 models represented 45% of the premium market. Throw in the iPhone 12, and Apple’s four most popular iPhones accounted for 53% of sales. The remaining share was presumably split between older models like the iPhone 11 and less popular ones like the iPhone 13 mini.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra was the best-selling Android flagship

As is usually the case, Samsung turned out to be the second largest brand in the premium segment. Galaxy devices accounted for 16% of global sales, slightly less than the 18% share it captured in the first quarter of 2021. However, that decline is not because Samsung’s smartphones are less popular. It can instead be attributed to the later launch of the Galaxy S22 series, with the Ultra model hitting shelves at the end of February and the other two in March.

But that late launch wasn’t enough to make the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It beat the competition with a month of sales to become the most popular Android flagship in the world, with a 3% market share.

It remains to be seen whether Samsung can recreate this success in the current quarter, but it certainly got off to a good start. Not only was the S22 Ultra the most popular Android flagship in April, but also the most popular android phone in general. In addition, foldable devices contribute nicely to Samsung’s performance. Their volume grew 184% year-over-year in the premium market last quarter, while the category’s combined share is now 3%.

Xiaomi replaced Huawei as third largest brand

At one point, it seemed that Huawei was unstoppable, with the brand slowly gobbling up shares from Samsung and Apple in recent years. This came to a radical halt in 2018 and in Q1 2022, Xiaomi officially replaced it as the third largest premium brand. It is slowly gaining popularity in and outside of China thanks to consistent launches. The same can be said about Oppo and Vivo, which have started to focus heavily on Europe with recent launches.

As for the overall premium smartphone market, it is only growing in dominance. It now accounts for 29% of shipments and 65% of industry profits, compared to 18% and 46%, respectively, five years ago. The most expensive devices are also only getting more popular. Products priced over $1,000 now represent nearly 30% of premium sales, up from less than 10% just 12 months ago.

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