iPhone maintains reign as top tech best-selling product in 2017



Which iPhone is for you? The SE, 6S, 7, 8 or 10? Jefferson Graham has the answers on #TalkingTech.

LOS ANGELES — Once again, the iPhone was the best-selling tech product of 2017, selling more units than the No. 2 through No. 5 products combined.

According to Daniel Ives, an analyst with GBH Insights, who compiled the chart for USA TODAY, Apple will sell 223 million iPhones in 2017, up from 211 million phones the previous year.

The rest of the top 5: 

  • Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 smartphones: 33 million
  • Amazon Echo Dot connected speakers: 24 million
  • Apple Watch: 20 million
  • Nintendo Switch video game console: 15 million

Apple took a risk in introducing three new iPhones for 2017 — the top-of-the-line most expensive iPhone ever, the $999 X, along with two products that to many consumers seemed like minor upgrades over last year’s 7 and 7 Plus, the 8 and 8 Plus. Both the 8 and 8 Plus were overshadowed by the excitement for the X, which was initially sold out and listed for thousands of dollars on eBay. 

But all in all, Apple sold more iPhones total, although less than the peak year of 2015, when it moved 230 million units. (That was the year of the iPhone 6, a redesign that brought a bigger iPhone to consumers for the first time and enthralled the public.)

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Ives thinks Apple will have an even bigger 2018, with a spring update to its compact SE iPhone and more new phones in the fall. Out of the billion-plus consumer base of the iPhone, “350 million of them will upgrade next year,” says Ives. 

Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moorhead Insights sees Apple lowering prices on non-iPhone X styled phones and says that will boost sales. “Anything that doesn’t have edge-to-edge display will go down in price,” he adds.  

The market share for smartphones is dominated by Google’s Android system, which owns 85%, compared to 15% for Apple’s iOS, according to researcher IDC. But the iPhone is the most popular smartphone brand, having opened a huge gap compared to No. 2 Samsung’s Galaxy phones at 33 million. However, Samsung, which has a broader portfolio of phones, sells more overall, Moorhead says.

While consumers spent more money on expensive iPhones, 2017 was also the year of voice computing, notes Ives, with Amazon and Google locked in a heated battle to get more low-cost connected speakers into homes.

Amazon dropped the price of the Echo Dot from $49.99 to $29.99 for the holidays, matched by Google and its Dot-like Google Home Mini, and the result is a whole lot of new Dots in bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens.

Amazon announced that it sold more Dots over the holidays than any other product, without citing numbers. Ives says Amazon will sell 24 million Dots this year.

In fourth place, the Apple Watch found its niche with 20 million units. The Watch was first introduced in April 2015 to so-so reviews and middling sales. But Apple stuck with the Watch, making it less reliant on being tied to an iPhone, lowering prices, improving battery life and tailoring it more to the fitness crowd.  It’s now the best-selling wearable.

In fifth place is the Nintendo Switch, a $299 video game system that can connect to your TV, can be played on the go, and can be connected to others, for group play. 

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham on Twitter, @jeffersongraham




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