The best-selling mobile phones globally

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Best-selling mobile phones are those that knock the ball out of the park and sell in droves. These were the most popular phones in the market in their times. This article lists out the best-selling mobile phones according to the year of manufacture, and includes images, so you have a visual point of reference. 

Some highlights from the list below include the fact that where a manufacturer has a portfolio of cell phones from a particular year, it is a budget model from that year that outsells the others in that portfolio. The best-selling phones are rarely a brand’s premium flagship. Also, non-touchscreen phones have done better numbers as best-sellers than touchscreen phones.

To understand how massive Nokia was, from 1997 all the way to 2007, a span of 10 years, all the best-selling mobile phones from each year was a Nokia. Every single one. LG interrupted Nokia in 2008, but then the Finnish company got back in and held the position till 2011.

And then, Apple became the beast that Nokia was, producing almost all the best-selling mobile phones all the way from 2011 till date. The exceptions were two years when Nokia and Samsung jumped in briefly.

It is safe to say that two mobile phone manufacturers have blazed the trail in the history of the mobile phone – Nokia (from 1997 to 2010), and Apple (from 2011 till date).

The best-selling mobile phones globally

Anyway, let’s dive into the list of the best-selling mobile phones of all time, by year of manufacture.

Released in 1996

Motorola StarTAC

Motorola StarTAC. 60 million sold. 

Released in 1999 

Nokia 3210

Nokia 3210. 160 million sold. 

Released in 2000

nokia 3310

Nokia 3310. 126 million sold. 

Released in 2002

Nokia 6100

Nokia 6100. This was the first colour-screen bestseller. 15 million sold.

Released in 2003

nokia 1100 is one of The best-selling mobile phones ever

Nokia 1100. 250 million sold.

Released in 2004

Nokia 2600 classic

Nokia 2600 (includes the 2610/2626/2630 variants). 135 million sold, narrowly beating the iconic Motorola Razr V3 to the title. Still, the Razr V3 remains the best-selling clamshell phone in the world to date.

Released in 2005

Nokia 1110

Nokia 1110. 250 million sold.

Released in 2006

Nokia 6070

Nokia 6070. 50 million sold.

Released in 2007

Nokia 1200

Nokia 1200. 150 million sold.

Released in 2008

LG KP100

LG KP100. 30 million sold.

Released in 2009

nokia 5230

Nokia 5230 is also the best-selling touchscreen phone ever. It has sold 150 million units till date. One source[1] lists the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, both released in 2014, as the best-selling touchscreen phones, because they have sold over 220 million units together. But this is inaccurate and unfair are. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are two different devices, not variants of one model. Alone, neither of those models sold 150 million units garnered by Nokia 5230.

Released in 2010

Nokia 1280

Nokia 1280. 100 million sold.

Released in 2011

iPhone 4S

Apple iPhone 4S. 60 million sold.

Released in 2012

Apple iPhone 5s

Apple iPhone 5. 70 million sold.

Released in 2013

New Nokia 105 2017 color-blue

Nokia 105. 200 million sold.

Released in 2014

Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6. 35 million sold.

Released in 2015

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6. About 120 million sold.

Released in 2016

Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8. 39 million units sold.

Released in 2017

apple iphone x

Apple iPhone X. 63 million sold.

Released in 2018

Apple iPhone XR White

Apple iPhone XR. 77.4 million sold.

Released in 2019

Apple iPhone display, iPhone 11 red

Apple iPhone 11. 102 million units sold.

Released in 2020

Apple iPhone SE (2020) white

Apple iPhone SE 2020. Sold 38 million.

The best-selling mobile phones of all time

What of the best-selling mobile devices of all time? None of our shiny new touchscreen smartphones make the list (yet). Nine of the top 10 best-sellers are feature phones. One Symbian smartphone, Nokia 5230, makes it in. Of the total list, nine phones are from Nokia, one from Samsung, and one from Motorola.

  1. Nokia 1100: 250 million
  2. Nokia 1110: 250 million
  3. Nokia 105: 200 million
  4. Nokia 3210 – 160 million
  5. Nokia 1200 – 150 million
  6. Nokia 5230 – 150 million
  7. Nokia 6600 – 150 million (also featured in this YouTube video)
  8. Samsung E1100 – 150 million
  9. Nokia 2600 – 135 million
  10. Motorola RAZR V3 – 130 million

The iPhone 6 would have broken the jinx and introduced an Apple smartphone to the top 10 list. With sales of 120 million, the now venerable Apple iPhone 6 narrowly misses being listed as one of the top ten best-selling mobile phones of all time.


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