Global smartphone sales decline, Samsung retains the top spot: Gartner

Global smartphone sales decline, Samsung retains the top spot: Gartner

Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled almost 408 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 5.6 percent decline over the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. "First, upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed down due to a lack of quality "ultra-low-cost" smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones".

"Two main factors led to the fall in the fourth quarter of 2017", Gartner research director, Anshul Gupta, said.

Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi were the only vendors in the top five to experience year-over-year growth in the quarter, respectively by 7.6 percent and 79 percent.

Samsung maintained its market leadership closing 2017 with more than 321 million units sold taking a total market share of 20.9 per cent, data from Gartner showed. Huawei came third with 9.8 per cent share market followed by OPPO and Vivo.

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The global smartphone market is shrinking for the first time as choosey buyers in emerging markets hang on to their mobiles for longer.

The decline in fourth quarter 2017 sales is the first year-on-year decline as consumers were slower to upgrade their devices, this was despite Apple rolling out a new iPhone 8 offering along with their ill-fated iPhone X.

While Huawei saw sales rise to 43.88 million smartphones in the fourth quarter against 40.80 million a year ago, Xiaomi saw sales nearly double to 28.18 million in the December quarter from 15.75 million in the same quarter a year ago.

"Second, replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones", he added. According to Gartner's Gupta, the later availability of the iPhone X and component shortages its performance was overshadowed.

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"Apple was in a different position this quarter than it was 12 months before", said Gupta. In 2017 as a whole, smartphone sales to end users totalled over 1.5 billion units - an increase of 2.7 per cent from 2016.

Meanwhile, Huawei recorded an 8.9% growth making it gain higher than Apple.

This has prompted growth in the Asia/Pacific (APAC) region, and in particular, China, Indonesia, and India are prompting accelerated sales.

Samsung's profit and average selling price could improve if its next flagship phones, the successors to its Galaxy series which are expected to launch this year, are successful.

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Android retained its lead position in the smartphone operating system market at 86 percent, up 1.1 percent from 2016. iOS is a distant second at 14 percent, down 0.4 percent from previous year.

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