A report from research firm IDC suggests that the dry spell for the seriously underrated Pixel phones might be over, as Google managed to ship 7.2 million units worldwide in the year 2019, surpassing OnePlus.

Google Pixel devices are one of the most premium smartphones the market has to offer. Revered for their exceptional performance, smooth stock Android OS and exquisite cameras, Pixel devices are the top of the top when it comes to the flagship experience. However, they have failed to exploit their popularity for sales, and have had mediocre market response, at best.

OnePlus on the other hand, emerged as the OG “flagship killer” and has always been a ‘high-sales’ brand. The company’s first big launch, the OnePlus 3, changed the market place and introduced the rather anonymous company to the world in a grand fashion. Since then, every launch from the Chinese company has been accompanied by record breaking sales and exceptional market response.

Thus, from being an underdog (at least in sales) to taking on one of the most popular phones in the market, Google’s champion has come a long way.

While IDC did not disclose the exact number of OnePlus shipments, Francisco Jeronimo, Associate VP of devices (EMEA) at IDC tweeted:

As much as it is ecncouraging to see those numbers for a device like Pixel, the tweet did confuse people. One of the users enquired,
“This is surprising to hear. The Information cited sales figures of Pixel phones recently and said that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4 sold fewer units in their first two quarters of sales than the Pixel 3 did in that same timeframe. So I wonder what’s driving this growth?”

Jeronimo answered his query by pointing out that while Pixel 3a and Pixel 4 sold fewer units in the 1st two-quarters of sales than Pixel3, 

  • the 2nd Q of sales for Px3 was 1Q2019 (Yes, Pixel 3, which was launched in 2018, was also counted)
  • Google launched Px3a & 4 in 2019. Weaker launches but the full impact was in 2019
  • Google expanded Pixel portfolio to 3 new markets

All of this contributed to the success of Pixel in 2019. However, with the expected fall in the smartphone market caused by COVID and global recession, it will be interesting to see if Google can maintain this high streak.

OnePlus counts India has one of its biggest markets, and shipped 2 million units in the country alone. Pixel 4, on the other hand, was not even launched in India. However, the new pocket friendly version of the device, the Pixel 4a, is all set to take on the market, including India. With the new launch and a new market, Pixel might be able to pull through the current crisis without being wounded too bad. However, nothing can be ascertained as of yet.