Gartner Reports First Ever Global Decline in Smartphone Sales

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The American research and advisory firm Gartner recently published the global smartphone sales number for the fourth quarter of 2017.

Apple dropped 5 per cent in the quarter to 73.17 million and the company should make up sales in the current quarter, said Gupta.

Worldwide smartphone sales declined last quarter for the first time ever, according to a Gartner report.

Two main factors led to the fall, said research director Anshul Gupta.


Gartner attributes the decline in smartphone sales to "lack of quality ultra-low-cost smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones".

Smartphones sales to end users in 2017 totaled over 1.5 billion units, an increase of 2.7 percent from 2016, and Huawei, ranked No. 3, raised its share in 2017 by continuing to gain on Apple, the tech giant in the United States.

"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. In 2016 they sold 26.7 million units during Q4, but past year they ended up selling 25.6 million. While the leaders in the market (Samsung and Apple) did see a decline over this time period, others (Huawei and Xiaomi) saw an increase.

"We expect good demand for the iPhone X to likely bring a delayed sales boost for Apple in the first quarter of 2018", he says. Second, component shortages and manufacturing capacity constraints preceded a long delivery cycle for the iPhone X, which returned to normal by early December 2017.


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

Huawei and Xiaomi were the only smartphone vendors to achieve year-on-year unit growth (7.6% and 79% respectively).

The drop in sales during Q4 2017 compared to Q4 2016 wasn't anything drastic, but seeing those numbers drop by 5.6% YoY was surprising as its the first yearly decline recorded since the agency began tracking the marketplace in 2004.

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.


"Future growth opportunities for Huawei will reside in winning market share in emerging APAC and the USA", said Gupta, "Xiaomi's biggest market outside China is India, where it will continue to see high growth".

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