The fourth quarter proved to be a time warp for smartphone sales.
Global smartphones sales growth in the fourth quarter 2015 dipped to its lowest level since 2008, according to a new report from Gartner.
Sales of smartphones to end users totaled 403 million units for the period, representing a growth rate of just 9.7 percent over the same quarter last year, the report said. For the full year 2015, smartphone sales increased 14.4 percent year-over-year to hit 1.4 billion units.
Out of the top five smartphone vendors – including Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi – only Samsung and Huawei managed to increase their sales to end users during the quarter. Huawei in particular posted strong results for the quarter, with a 53 percent increase in sales.
Apple, however, didn’t fare so well. According to the report, the company suffered its first-ever decline in smartphone sales, with a decrease of 4.4 percent.
Though Samsung held on to its seat as the number one vendor in the quarter, Gartner research director Anshul Gupta said the company needs to take action to stay on top. Already Gartner found that Samsung’s market share declined 2.2 percentage points in the fourth quarter despite having the highest sales figures.
“For Samsung to stop falling sales of premium smartphones, it needs to introduce new flagship smartphones that can compete with iPhones and stop the churn to iOS devices,” Gupta said.
According to Gartner, Samsung sold 84.3 million smartphones in the fourth quarter to achieve a market share of 20.7 percent. Apple followed in second place with 71.5 million units sold for 17.7 percent of the market share and Huawei trailed behind in third with 32.1 million units sold and 8 percent of the market share.
In terms of operating systems, Android continued to dominate in the fourth quarter with 80.7 percent of the market share, followed by iOS with 17.7 percent and Windows with 1.1 percent.