While smartphone growth has been slowing down for quite a few years, partly due to saturation in the matured markets and painful growth in some developing markets. But for the first time since 2004, when it began analyzing the market, research firm Gartner has recorded a decline in the sales of smartphones.
As per Gartner, 408 million units of smartphones were sold during the last quarter of 2017, which is 5.6 percent lower than the number of units sold during the December quarter of 2016. Samsung, the top-ranked smartphone manufacturer by sales witnessed a fall of 3.6% over the previous year, while runner-up Apple’s sales also slowed down by 5%. The only companies among the top five vendors to witness growths were Huawei and Xiaomi.
The main reason for this slowdown, as per Gartner, is the slow migration from feature phones to smartphones owing to the scarcity of good-quality “ultra-low-cost” smartphones. Secondly, the replacement cycle for good smartphones has elongated over time and users now prefer buying superior smartphones and retaining them for longer.
Furthermore, companies have not been able to meet high expectations from users about improved cameras and better connectivity options. This pinned their hopes on superior and more affordable smartphones, which will be launching in 2018.
Gartner also noted that Samsung is likely to recover in terms of sales in the coming quarter as it launches the Galaxy S9 series. Likewise, a “delayed demand” for the iPhone X is expected to boost sales for the company in the first quarter of 2018. It further cited Xiaomi’s popularity in the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific region has helped it regain lost ground. As for Huawei, the research firm said that the success of its broad catalog of products lies strongly on its entry into the U.S. as much as it does on its performance in the developing countries of Asia.