By Don Reisinger
March 22, 2017

Apple’s big 2016 iPhone 7 wasn’t the year’s most popular smartphone, according to new report.

The iPhone 6s, introduced in 2015, was the most popular in 2016 with more than 60 million units shipped during the year, research firm IHS Markit said. Apple’s iPhone 7, which debuted in September 2016, was second with more than 50 million units shipped followed by the iPhone 7 Plus with 25 million units and iPhone 6s Plus with just slightly less.

Apple discloses the number of iPhones it sells every quarter, but it doesn’t break out sales of individual models, leaving the guesswork to market researchers like IHS. IHS tracks shipments of over 350 smartphone models from various manufacturers. Shipments measure how many units were sold into the retail channel but not necessarily to end customers.

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The iPhone 6s, which went on sale in 2015, was Apple’s flagship handset from January to September the following year. Apple continues to sell iPhone 6s, but it’s since been relegated to a support role behind the iPhone 7 in its smartphone lineup.

IHS’ findings suggest that the iPhone 7 had a strong debut by virtue of its shipments nearly surpassing that of the iPhone 6s after only three months of availability. Meanwhile, the iPhone 7 Plus, a larger model that also went on sale in September last year, was able to slightly edge out its earlier equivalent, the iPhone 6 Plus, after just a few months of availability.

In terms of Apple’s competitors, Samsung (SSNLF) had two phones in IHS Markit’s top 10. The Galaxy S7 Edge introduced in March 2016, ranked fifth with 25 million units shipped during the year while the Galaxy S7, released at the same time, was ninth with 24 million units shipped, according to IHS.

The other smartphones on the most popular list were mostly budget devices geared toward customers in emerging markets. China-based Oppo’s A53, for instance, came in at seventh place with 25 million units shipped last year. Also popular were lower-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy J3 at sixth place with 25 million units shipped. The Samsung Galaxy J5 landed in eighth place at more than 24 million unit shipments.

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