Gartner: Global Smartphone Shipments Decline for First Time

According to Gartner’s Q4 sales report, the global smartphone market saw a dip in shipments for the first time. The world’s top vendors (besides Huawei and Xiaomi) experienced declines. Overall, there was a 5.6 percent slide compared to the previous year, representing 24.29 million fewer phones. Gartner research director Anshul Gupta cites “a lack of quality ‘ultra-low-cost’ smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones.” Additionally, “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,” Gupta added.

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“This is the first year-on-year decline since Gartner started tracking the global smartphone market in 2004,” notes the press release.

Samsung passed Apple in phone shipments for the quarter, as its sales declined less than the market average, although Gartner predicts the iPhone X will experience strong sales during Q1 2018.

Additionally, the launch of Samsung’s next flagship devices, Galaxy S9 and S9+ (to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress this week), “are likely to boost Samsung’s smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2018,” suggests Gartner.

“The story was different for Chinese giants Huawei and Xiaomi, which reported sales leaps of 7.6 and 7.9 percent respectively to 43.8 million and 28.18 million,” reports The Register. “Huawei added the Mate 10 Lite, Honor 6C Pro and Enjoy 7S, broadening its portfolio to appeal to different types of buyers. Oppo went backwards in Q4 as sales slipped to 25.66 million from 26.7 million.”

Samsung (321.26 million) led in global sales for all of 2017, followed by Apple (214.92 million), Huawei (150.5 million), Oppo (112.12 million) and Vivo (99.6 million). In terms of market share for operating systems, Android (85.9 percent) eclipsed iOS (14 percent) and others.

“Ahead of MWC, several phone manufacturers such as Samsung, HMD (Nokia), Asus and LG have announced that they will launch new Android smartphones,” said Gupta.