Global smartphone sales are on the rise once again, having returned to growth in the first quarter of the year after experiencing their first-ever decline over the final three months of 2017, market research company Gartner reports. Worldwide handset sales to end users amounted to over 383.5 million in Q1 2018, up 1.3 percentage points compared to the same period last year. Overall mobile phone sales reached 455 million, having stalled compared to 2017, with the implication being that feature phones are now on a decline as even their largest strongholds such as India started embracing affordable alternatives running a full-fledged operating system – Android, in most instances.
Smartphones now account for approximately 84-percent of all mobile phone sales, with the market growing in a particularly noticeable manner in terms of entry-level and mid-range segments, both of which have been improving at a rapid pace in recent times, with many flagship features such as dual cameras and elongated display panels now trickling down to lower price brackets. At the same time, ultra-premium models largely stagnated as far as innovations are concerned, with most original equipment manufacturers opting to refine their product formulas instead of reinventing them this year. That state of affairs lowered general consumer interest in Android flagships, according to the new study.
China's top mobile brands like Vivo and OPPO also remain heavily reliant on their home country, with that business model limiting their growth potential, Gartner believes. Samsung remained the top smartphone vendor over the first quarter, having sold more than 78.5 million handsets. Apple and Huawei followed with some 54 million and 40.4 million of sold-through units, respectively. In terms of operating systems, Android dominance continues with a market share north of 86-percent, whereas non-iOS mobile software amounted to some 0.2 percentage points of first-quarter sales. Tables providing a visual breakdown of Gartner's latest findings can be seen in the gallery below.