Global smartphone sales fell by 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 — the industry’s first decline since 2004, according to a study from research firm Gartner.
Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi were the only vendors in the top five to experience year-over-year growth in the quarter, respectively by 7.6 percent and 79 percent.
“Upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed down due to a lack of quality ‘ultra-low-cost’ smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones,” said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. “Replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer.”
“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 said.
Samsung maintained the number one spot for global sales, growing market share from the fourth quarter of 2016, despite a 3.6 percent dip. Apple sales fell 5 percent year over year and Oppo sales fell 3.9 percent.
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.
Smartphones sales for all of 2017 increased by 2.7 percent from the previous year to 1.5 billion.