Smartphone Shipments Record First Ever Decline, Gartner Warns

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It pointed out two main causes: lack of "ultra-low-cost" smartphones and users of expensive quality using their phones for a longer period.

Smartphones sales have declined for the first time year-on-year worldwide since 2004.

Samsung, which took the number one spot in the fourth quarter of 2017, saw its market share increase slightly from 17.8 per cent to 18.2 per cent, with 74 million handsets flogged to customers.

Analysts recorded the first decline in year-on-year global smartphone sales for Q4 2017, while emerging players saw their unit sales rise.

Apple follows Samsung with around 73 million units.

There has also been criticism that Apple's much vaunted iPhone X failed to include enough new tech to encourage people to upgrade. Samsung still gained market share (20.5 to 20.9 %), but Apple lost ground (14.4 to 14 %).

In last quarter of 2016, about 432 million units of smartphone sold.

All five top vendors grew in global market share in the fourth quarter of the 2017, widening the gap between the leaders and the rest of the industry.

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Speaking through an interpreter, he said: "The problem wasn't our preparation, it was the first match of the season for us". The only problem is we didn't play for two months. "They showed last week they can play".

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.

Huawei has launched a selection of new smartphones over the past year in different pricing brackets and Xiaomi is becoming an increasingly competitive force in the market due to a focus on affordable low and mid-range handsets.

"We expect good demand for the iPhone X to likely bring a delayed sales boost for Apple in the first quarter of 2018", Gupta said.

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 a year ago.

Worldwide sales, however, increased by 2.7 per cent during the entirety of 2017, totaling more than 1.5 billion units.

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.

The report said Xiaomi's biggest market outside China is India. The other strategy of Xiaomi should be in increasing sales in Indonesia and other developing telecom markets in emerging APAC in order to position it as a strong global brand.