Worldwide Smartphone sales grew 9.7% in 4Q of 2015: Gartner

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Bangalore: Global sales of smartphones to end users totalled 403 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 9.7 percent increase over the same period in 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. However, this was their slowest growth rate since 2008. In 2015 as a whole, smartphone sales reached 1.4 billion units, an increase of 14.4 percent from 2014.

“Low-cost smartphones in emerging markets, and strong demand for premium smartphones, continued to be the driving factors,” said Anshul Gupta, Research Director at Gartner. “An aggressive pricing from local and Chinese brands in the midrange and entry-level segments of emerging markets led to consumers upgrading more quickly to affordable smartphones. 85% of users in the emerging Asia / Pacific market are replacing their current midrange phone with the same category of phone.”

In the fourth quarter of 2015, Samsung and Huawei were the only two top-five smartphone vendors to increase their sales to end users. Apple suffered its first decline in sales of smartphones – iPhone sales were down 4.4 percent. Samsung with 20.7% market share lead the worldwide smartphone sales to end users, followed by Apple with 17.7%, Huawei 8%, Lenovo 5% and Xiaomi 4.5%.

For total sales of smartphones in 2015, Samsung maintained the No. 1 position with 22.5% market share, followed by Apple with 15.9%, Huawei 7.3%, Lenovo 5.1% and Xiaomi 4.6%. The figures for Lenovo include sales of mobile phones by both Lenovo and Motorola.

Although Samsung was the No.1 vendor, Gartner analysts said the company faces challenges. “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,” said Anshul.

In terms of smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android increased 16.6% in the fourth quarter of 2015, to account for 80.7% market share. iOS has 17.7% followed by Windows with 1.1% and Blackberry with 0.2%.

“Android benefited from continued demand for affordable smartphones and from the slowdown of iOS units in the premium market in the fourth quarter of 2015,” said Roberta Cozza, Research Director at Gartner.

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