Global smartphone sales see first decline since 2004: Gartner report

Global smartphone sales see first decline since 2004: Gartner report


Almost 408m smartphones were sold to consumers worldwide, in the final three months of past year, according to Gartner, a 5.6 per cent fall from the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first fall since the research firm began tracking the market in 2004.

2017 may have been a record year for smartphone sellers, but the market is weakening: for the first time since 2004, there were fewer smartphone sales in the fourth quarter.

"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". With 17.9% market share, Apple ranks second in the global smartphone sales in the December quarter.

Apple faced challenges due to the later availability of iPhone X that led to slow upgrades to iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Samsung leap-frogged Apple by virtue of its sales declining slower than the market average - Sammy's numbers were 3.6 per cent to 74.02 million units.

The box counters at Gartner claim that the worldwide market experienced its first-ever quarterly sales dip since it started tracking smartphone sales more than a decade ago. That's because new-phone users tend to re-download their favorite and most-used apps, upgrade apps they haven't updated in a while, and try new apps, particularly those that take advantage of new technological capabilities in newer devices.

Gartner expects that Samsung, despite a downturn in sales, will likely experience an increase in sales should the firm announce flagship devices and successors to the Samsung Galaxy S8 range at Mobile World Congress this year.

Huawei sold about 150.534 million units of smartphones past year, accounting for 9.8 percent of the world total. Samsung still gained market share (20.5 to 20.9 %), but Apple lost ground (14.4 to 14 %).

Huawei is third (9.8 percent), OPPO (Chinese handset maker) is fourth (7.3 percent), followed by Vivo (another Chinese hadnset maker) in fifth (6.5 percent) and others (41.5 percent).

Xiaomi's competitive smartphone portfolio consists of its Mi and Redmi models, which helped accelerate its growth in the emerging Asia-Pacific (APAC) market, as well as its regained hold in the domestic market shares back in China.

In operating system market share, Google's Android extended its lead over iOS capturing 85.9% of the market.

"Xiaomi's biggest market outside China is India, where it will continue to see high growth". "Apple was in a different position this quarter than it was 12 months before", said Mr. Gupta.

  • Terrell Bush