The most popular mobile phone ever is not an iPhone or Android device

New data has revealed the most popular mobile phones from the past 22 years, and the results aren’t what you’d think. While Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy range are now the market’s go-to handsets, analysts from online smartphone retailer, Mobiles.co.uk, have revealed the most popular phone since 2000 is the Nokia 1100.

The research took data from phone manufacturers from the year 2000 until now, looking at how many units of each handset have been sold since the year of release. According to the data, the 2003 Nokia 1100 model is the most successful, selling a total of 250 million units.

Despite only being released in 2014, the iPhone 6/6+ has quickly become the second most in-demand phone, selling over 222 million units. While iPhone 13 has only recently been released, the iPhone 6 range has remained the most popular, selling more than double its counterparts, with the iPhone 5 handset pulling in just 70 million units of sale. Interestingly, the iPhone 5C/5S, iPhone 5, and iPhone X sit in fifth, sixth, and seventh place respectively.



The Nokia 1100
The Nokia 1100

Interestingly, Nokia boasts two of the most sought-after phones of the century, with the classic 3310 released in the year 2000 ranking in third place. Famous for having the Snake II mobile game, the Nokia 3310 has sold 136 million units since its release year.

The Motorola Razr V3, which came out in 2004 and bucked the trend of the ‘brick-like’ style of handsets with its slim and sleek flip phone design, notably ranks fourth with 130 million sales. It remains a popular handset to this day, with Motorola rolling out a more modern version as recently as last year.

Both the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy round out the top ten most dominating smartphones of their respective years, with Apple and Samsung boasting three different handsets, each behind Nokia and Motorola.

The top ten most in-demand phones of the 21st century

ranking

Phone

Dirty

Release Year

1

Nokia 1100

250,000,000

2003

2

iPhone 6/6+

222,400,000

2014

3

Nokia 3310

136,000,000

2004

4

Motorola Razr V3

130,000,000

2000

5

iPhone 5C/5S

76,600,000

2013

6

iPhone 5

70,000,000

2012

7

iPhone X

63,000,000

2017

8

Samsung Galaxy S3

60,000,000

2012

9

Samsung Galaxy S6/S6Edge

45,000,000

2015

10

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+

41,000,000

2017

Perhaps surprisingly, there was no place among the most successful selling handsets for Blackberry, despite these handsets paving the way for free instant messenger features on mobiles, with BBM (Blackberry Messenger) being a staple of their products between 2003-20193.

Earlier releases in the century do have the advantage of selling for a longer period, and with yearly updates to phone models it gives later released products a shorter selling window to catch up on the top selling products. In terms of recent releases, a few exciting handsets are registering impressive sales figures to keep an eye on. The iPhone 12 was released in 2020 and proved to be hugely popular across the market. The Google Pixel 6 has also enjoyed a successful launch period, and if it maintains an impressive run rate, it could make an appearance on a top ten list.



The most popular phones since 2000
The most popular phones since 2000

As Apple’s flagship iPhone 13 launched in September 2021, it’ll have to sell exceptionally well to usurp its high-flying iPhone 6 predecessor and will need to surpass a quarter of a billion sales to become the best-selling handset of this century.

Kyle Wilson, mobile expert at Mobiles.co.uk, said: “Anyone who grew up in the nineties and noughties will likely have fond memories of early Nokia handsets, so it’s interesting to see these proven as the most popular handsets of the past 20 years. While Samsung and Apple are now names that are synonymous with the smartphone market, there’s no denying that Nokia’s early handsets will remain iconic among certain generations.

“Whilst there is no doubt the likes of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy are the top of wish lists today; the popularity of these Nokia handsets cannot be understated. With almost one in five mobile phone owners having an 1100 or 3310 in the respective years they were released, this is an impressive feat matched by no one in 2021.”

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