Smartphone Sales Decline Globally For First Time Ever

23 February, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Sam Montgomery
  • Samsung Retains Top Spot as Global Smartphone Sales Drop 4.6 Percent in Q4 Gartner

The Smartphone market has finally plateaued in growth, experiencing its first decline past year in Q4 2017, reports Gartner.

Samsung is the number one smartphone seller, but it saw a year-on-year unit decline of 3.6 per cent in Q4, while sales of Apple's iPhones fell 5 per cent though it says Cupertino stabilised its second-place marketshare. I'm sure this isn't the beginning of the end for smartphones, however, it does show that what was once a booming market is probably saturated right now and people are just going to hang onto their phones for longer periods of time now.

"Future growth opportunities for Huawei will reside in winning market share in emerging APAC and the United States", said Gupta, "Xiaomi's biggest market outside China is India, where it will continue to see high growth". It does not appear to have ruled out that the iPhone X might sell eventually, all though the signs are that Apple is extremely disappointed with the sales figures.

"While demand for high-quality 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales", Gupta said.

In terms of smartphone vendors, Samsung maintained the top position, despite a fall in unit sales.

It's also expecting a boost for Samsung in Q1 as it unpacks its successor Galaxy flagships.

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Gartner pointed out Samsung is poised to lift the covers off its flagship mobe, though "significant sales" volumes are generated by customers buying entry-level and mid-priced hardware.

The story was different for Chinese giants Huawei and Xiaomi, which reported sales leaps of 7.6 and 7.9 per cent respectively to 43.8 million and 28.18 million.

This low demand has caused Apple to reportedly reduce its iPhone X production by half, leaving Samsung with a surplus of OLED panels which the South Korean company is now unable to sell. Xiaomi moved into fourth place, almost doubling its market share to 6.9 percent from 3.6 percent in Q4 2016 after an estimated 79 percent increase in sales.

In 2017 as a whole, smartphone sales to end users totalled more than 1.5bn units, an increase of 2.7% from 2016.

The combined market share of Chinese vendors has increased by 4.2 percent, while Samsung and Apple's market share as the top companies is unchanged.

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.

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