Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled nearly 408 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 5.6% decline over the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. This is the first year-on-year decline since the research group started tracking the global smartphone market in 2004.
While Apple's market share stabilized in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the same quarter in 2016, iPhone sales fell 5%. "Apple was in a different position this quarter than it was 12 months before, according to Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner: it had three new smartphones — the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X — yet its performance in the quarter was overshadowed by two factors.
“First, the later availability of the iPhone X led to slow upgrades to iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, as users waited to try the more-expensive model. Second, component shortages and manufacturing capacity constraints preceded a long delivery cycle for the iPhone X, which returned to normal by early December 2017,” he adds. “We expect good demand for the iPhone X to likely bring a delayed sales boost for Apple in the first quarter of 2018.”
Samsung saw a year-on-year unit decline of 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017. Still, this didn’t not prevent it from defending its No. 1 global smartphone vendor position against Apple, according to Gartner.