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Global smartphone sales witness a decline during quarter ended December 2017, says Gartner

February 23, 2018
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According to a report by Gartner, the global sales of smartphones to end users reached nearly 408 million units in the quarter ended December 2017 recording a 5.6 per cent decline as compared to the corresponding quarter in 2016. The report stated that this is the first year-on-year decline since 2004.

According to Anshul Gupta, research director, Gartner, “Two main factors led to the decline. 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. Second, replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones. Moreover, while demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales.”

The report highlighted that Samsung retained the top spot during the quarter under review even as it saw a year-on-year unit decline of 3.6 per cent in the quarter ended December 2017. The company is expected to announce the successors to its Galaxy series of smartphones at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in 2018. Samsung’s next flagship devices are likely to boost its smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2018.

Even when Apple's market share stabilised in the quarter ending December 2017as compared to the same quarter in 2016, iPhone sales fell 5 per cent. It is being expected that good demand for the iPhone X is likely to bring a delayed sales boost for Apple in the first quarter of 2018.

According to Gartner, Huawei and Xiaomi were the only smartphone vendors to achieve year-on-year unit growth of 7.6 and 79 percent, respectively and grew market share in the quarter under review.

Anshul Gupta, research director, Gartner, said, "Future growth opportunities for Huawei will reside in winning market share in emerging APAC and the U.S. Xiaomi's biggest market outside China is India, where it will continue to see high growth. Increasing sales in Indonesia and other markets in emerging APAC will position Xiaomi as a strong global brand."

In 2017 as a whole, smartphone sales to end-users totaled over 1.5 billion units recording an increase of 2.7 per cent from 2016. Huawei grabbed the third spot and raised its share in 2017, continuing to gain on Apple.

The combined market share of the China-based vendors in the top five increased by 4.2 per cent while the market share of top two players, Samsung and Apple, remained unchanged.

Moreover, Gartner reported that in the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Google's Android extended its lead by capturing 86 per cent of the total market in 2017.

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