Global smartphone sales see first ever decline Q42017: Gartner

The Smartphone market has finally plateaued in growth, experiencing its first decline past year in Q4 2017, reports Gartner. I'm sure this isn't the beginning of the end for smartphones, however, it does show that what was once a booming market is probably saturated right now and people are just going to hang onto their phones for longer periods of time now.

The market researcher blamed the market contraction on a lack of quality low-priced smartphones, to win over feature phone users, as well as a longer replacement cycle for existing smartphone users, as new models offer few major improvements. "Second, replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones", Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, said in the statement. 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.

"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 analyst added.

"Apple had three new smartphones - the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X - yet its performance in the quarter was overshadowed by two factors".

The iPhone X was one of the most expensive handsets launched in 2017, and its costly OLED displays were a part of the reason why - Samsung's OLED panels cost over $100 each, which is more than twice the cost of the company's liquid crystal displays.

Gartner says it's expecting a delayed sales boost for Apple in the first quarter of 2018, now that the flagship's delivery cycle has returned to normal.

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While Huawei saw sales rise to 43.88 million smartphones in the fourth quarter against 40.80 million a year ago, Xiaomi saw sales nearly double to 28.18 million in the December quarter from 15.75 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The combined market share of the Chinese vendors in the top five increased by 4.2 percentage points, while the market share of top two, Samsung and Apple, remained unchanged.

This has also led to a jump in Xiaomi's share of the total market to 6.9% in the December quarter from 3.6% a year ago.

Coming back to the smartphones sales, on a year on year basis as per Gartner, the overall smartphones sales passed 1.5 billion units in 2017 which is 2.7% increase from 2016. "Apple was in a different position this quarter than it was 12 months before", said Gupta.

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

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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