iPhone X was world's best-selling smartphone in Q1, despite fears

Never mind analyst predictions, the iPhone X nabs the smartphone sales crown, shipping 16 million units.

Your global smartphone sales champion.
Sarah Tew/CNET

The iPhone X was the best-selling smartphone in the world during the first quarter of 2018, contradicting analysts' soft sales predictions.

Apple's flagship handset shipped 16 million units during the first three months of the year, according to figures released Thursday by market researcher Strategy Analytics. Apple also nabbed the next two spots on the list with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which sold 12.5 million units and 8.3 million units, respectively.

Smartphone vendors are finding it harder to woo buyers with the latest and greatest smartphones. There were worries that even 2017's iPhone X, Apple's first major iPhone redesign in three years, hadn't gotten consumers excited about phones again. The phone -- which starts at $999, $300 more than the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and $200 more than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus -- is the most expensive iPhone Apple has ever made, and people have been holding onto their "good enough" devices longer than before.

Fears that Apple would report dismal iPhone sales were allayed when the company reported Tuesday that iPhone unit sales rose 2.9 percent year over year in the second quarter. CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone X was the top-selling Apple device every week of the quarter.

"For the second quarter running, the iPhone X remains the world's most popular smartphone model overall, due to a blend of good design, sophisticated camera, extensive apps, and widespread retail presence for the device," Juha Winter, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "Apple has now shipped almost 50 million iPhone X units worldwide since commercial launch in November 2017."

 In the weeks leading up to Apple's results, analyst after analyst cut earnings estimates and warned the iPhone boom times could be over. They based their fears on results from Apple's component suppliers, including Samsung, almost universally warned about weakness in the mobile market.

The Xiaomi Redmi 5A and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus were the world's top-selling Android smartphones, shipping 5.4 million and 5.3 million units, respectively.

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