iPhone 14 Pro Max tops global smartphone shipments as people shun budget phones for top-end devices

The iPhone 13 secured the top spot as the bestselling device in the previous year, reflecting a trend where consumers opted for flagship devices at the entry level rather than the highest tier.

This year, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, the most expensive smartphone in Cupertino-based tech giant’s lineup, has claimed the crown. This shift underscores a growing preference among consumers for higher-end choices within the market.

Data from research firm Omdia for the first half of the year reveals that the iPhone 14 was the most shipped smartphone, indicating a shift in consumer preferences towards high-end devices and a departure from low- to mid-range phones.


Between January and June, Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max shipped 26.5 million units, surpassing all other models from different manufacturers. In contrast, the iPhone 14 Pro had 21 million unit shipments.

Omdia’s “Smartphone Model Market Tracker – 2Q23” report, which monitors sales of various phone models, provides these statistics. Notably, Apple held all four of the top-shipping models, with the iPhone 14 ranking third at 16.5 million units shipped and the iPhone 13 at 15.5 million units.

This shift also signifies changes in the dynamics of the smartphone market. In the previous year, the iPhone 13 led in sales, indicating a consumer inclination towards flagship devices at the entry level. However, this year, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple’s most expensive offering, has surged to the forefront, reflecting an increasing preference for high-end options.

Although smartphones have undergone relatively modest changes over recent years, manufacturers have concentrated on gradual improvements, particularly in camera technology and enhanced processing power. This approach has led to some consumer indifference, despite smartphones now being essential for both professional and personal use.

The premium prices exceeding $1,000 attached to top-end phones from companies like Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi have also dissuaded many from investing in flagship models.

Consequently, consumers are holding onto their devices for longer, waiting until their phones break or until they feel compelled to upgrade. Yet, there’s a clear willingness among consumers to pay a premium for the highest-tier devices, driven by the desire for access to the most advanced features available.

The Samsung Galaxy A14 secured fifth place as the bestselling phone in the first half, shipping 12.4 million units. The flagship model from Samsung’s current lineup, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, ranked sixth with 9.6 million unit shipments.

Remarkably, devices from Chinese manufacturers did not make it to the top 10 bestselling smartphones. Omdia attributes this to double-digit declines in shipments of Chinese smartphones since 2022, caused by a slump in the mid- to low-end smartphone market.

These figures are a significant reflection of consumer sentiment towards smartphones, particularly as Apple prepares for the launch of the iPhone 15 in the fall. Omdia forecasts that Apple’s overall iPhone shipments will likely remain steady or slightly decrease this year. However, the Pro and Pro Max models are anticipated to sustain growth due to solid demand for premium offerings.

In a broader context, global smartphone shipments are projected to decline by 6% year on year, totaling 1.15 billion devices. This marks the weakest performance in a decade, according to earlier data from Omdia.

As of early trading on Monday, Apple’s shares experienced a less than 1% increase. The company’s stock has witnessed a year-to-date rise of approximately 37.5%.

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