Apple's iPhone X has emerged as the top-selling smartphone model worldwide during the first quarter of 2018.

The latest industry data from IHS Markit has shown that 345.5 million smartphones were sold worldwide during the three-month period, with Apple's top-end iPhone X outselling the competition with 12.7 million units shipped. The same manufacturer's iPhone 8 ranked second, shipping 8.5 million units.

This success mirrored the company's performance during the first quarter of last year, when the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 were the top-selling phones on the market. The combined shipment volume of the two older devices in Q1 2017 was 35.6 million, which is more than the 21.2 million iPhone X and iPhone 8 units sold in the first quarter of this year; however, the premium pricing of the newer models meant Apple was still able to deliver robust earnings.

Samsung retained its position as the second-most successful manufacturer, with its Galaxy Grand Prime Plus ranking as the third most popular handset, ahead of the Apple iPhone 8 Plus and its own Galaxy S9 Plus.

The report also showed that Chinese smartphone manufacturers were able to grow their global smartphone market share during the quarter; however, few individual models from these companies were able to rival Apple and Samsung's top-selling offerings, due in part to delays of planned product launches from Huawei, Xiaomi and Vivo.

Looking ahead, IHS Markit noted that Apple is looking to expand its iPhone X range to encompass new three new models in the second half of this year, including two models with AMOLED displays and one with an LCD panel. This will help the company to ensure a larger percentage of its earnings are generated by its latest products, rather than older models.

Jusy Hong, director of consumer devices for IHS Markit, said: "Manufacturers are keen on displays, because they are a visible upgrade that can be easily monetised with consumers. These upgrades will also increase Apple's share of new models this year."

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