Sales of smartphones to end users around the world saw an upturn in the first quarter of 2018, growing by 1.3 per cent compared to the same period in 2017, according to Gartner’s latest research.
However, sales of all mobile phones stalled compared to the first quarter of last year, reaching 455 million units in the first quarter of 2018.
Almost 384 million smartphones were sold in the first quarter of this year, accounting for 84 per cent of total mobile phone sales. According to Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, the demand for premium smartphones “continued to suffer” as a result of “marginal” benefits gained when upgrading.
He added, however, that demand for entry-level and low mid-range smartphones grew on the back of better quality models being produced.
In the mid-tier range, established manufacturer Samsung saw continued competition from Chinese brands, leading to lower year-on-year sales. Gartner expects Samsung's smartphone growth rate to “remain under pressure through 2018”, with various Chinese brands growing in dominance and expanding into European and Latin American markets.
Meanwhile, the Gartner study revealed that the “delayed sales boost for Apple from last quarter materialised”. Apple’s smartphone sales returned to growth in the first quarter of 2018, with a year-on-year increase of four per cent.
Mr Gupta explained that although demand for Apple's iPhone X was higher than that for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, the company struggled to drive significant smartphone replacements, resulting in slower than expected growth in the first quarter of 2018.
Huawei had a successful quarter, with its refreshed smartphone portfolio strengthening its third place global smartphone vendor position. The company saw an 18.3 per cent increase in sales in the period.
Android remained the world’s most popular operating system, with an 85.9 per cent market share. However, this was down from the first quarter of 2017, when it held an 86.1 per cent share.