Apple's iPhone 7, 7 Plus best-selling handsets in first half of 2017

iPhone 7
The iPhone 7. Image: Apple

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were the two top-selling smartphones worldwide in the first half of 2017, according to fresh data from IHS Market. But the two largest smartphone vendors in the world struggled during the first six months of the year as Chinese manufacturers continued to gain traction.

The research firm said Apple’s iPhone 7 remained the most popular smartphone in the world during the first six months of the year, and the iPhone 7 Plus was once again the second best-selling phone. Samsung’s Galaxy Grand Prime Plus was the No. 3 seller, followed in order by the iPhone 6s and Galaxy S8.

But sales of flagship models from both Apple and Samsung lagged compared to recent years, according to IHS. Shipment volumes of new iPhones declined compared to the previous-generation iPhones during the same period in 2016, and the market share of 4.7-inch display iPhone models continued to fall from 10% in 2015 to 7% in 2016, and to 5% in the first half of 2017.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 series also recorded smaller shipment volumes this year. The number of smartphone models with more than 1 million shipments per month increased during the period, though, climbing from 17 models last year to 22 this year.

“This is a direct result of smartphone OEM efforts to select and concentrate in order to improve product portfolios and increase profitability,” said Jusy Hong, associate director of mobile devices for IHS, in a press release. “In addition, more Chinese OEMs are selling their smartphone models outside of China, which intensifies competition and generates more globally popular models.”

Indeed, eight of the 22 top-shipping models so far this year are from Chinese vendors, IHS said, with each model shipping at least six million units. Oppo claimed five of the most popular phones; Xiaomi accounted for two and Huawei produced one.

And while the first half of the year may have been lackluster for high-end phones, the market could become much more active during the upcoming holiday shopping season. Apple is preparing to release its highly anticipated iPhone X, Samsung recently introduced the Galaxy Note 8, and Google is widely expected to unveil its second-generation Pixel this week.