Global smartphone sales down 4.6%, Samsung retains top spot

Global smartphone sales down 4.6%, Samsung retains top spot

In Q4 2017 408 million units of smartphones were sold globally which is 5.6% decline from Q4 2016. 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.

Apple's iPhone X wasn't enough to boost smartphone sales in the holiday quarter.

Two main factors led to the fall, said research director Anshul Gupta. Two is that smartphone companies tend to keep quality models for a longer period of time, not replacing them which provides less option for smartphone users to buy a new phone. "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.

The South Korean giant though saw a year-on-year unit decline of 3.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017, but this did not prevent it from defending its top global smartphone vendor position against Apple.

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

"Although Samsung's significant sales volumes lean toward mid-price and entry-level models, which now face extreme competition and reducing contribution, its profit, and average selling price may further improve if these next flagship smartphones are successful", Gartner added. First, the later availability of the iPhone X led to slow upgrades to iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, as users waited to try the more expensive model.

Gartner also expects strong demand for the iPhone X to bring a delayed sales boost for the USA company in the first quarter of 2018.

"Second, component shortages and manufacturing capacity constraints preceded a long delivery cycle for the iPhone X, which returned to normal by early December 2017". It also says Xiaomi's "competitive" portfolio accelerating its growth in the emerging APAC market and helped it win back lost share in China. Samsung's market share stayed about flat at 21 percent, while Apple's remained at about 14 percent.

"Xiaomi's biggest market outside China is India, where it will continue to see high growth".

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.

In 2017 as a whole, smartphone sales worldwide pushed through the 1.5 billion mark, an increase of 2.7 percent from 2016.

Apple is followed by Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo, with 10.8%, 6.9% and 6.3% market share respectively.

In the smartphone operating system market, Google's Android extended its lead by capturing 86% of the total market in 2017, up 1.1 percentage points from a year ago.

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