Global sales of smartphones totaled 349 million units in the first quarter of 2016, up 3.9 per cent over the year-ago period, driven by demand for low-cost and 4G-enabled handsets, research firm Gartner said. Smartphone sales represented 78 per cent of total mobile phone sales in the first quarter of 2016, it said in a report.
"Smartphone sales were driven by demand for low-cost smartphones in emerging markets and for affordable 4G smartphones, led by 4G connectivity promotion plans from communications service providers (CSPs) in many markets worldwide," Gartner said.
In a slowing smartphone market where large vendors are experiencing growth saturation, emerging brands are disrupting existing brands' long-standing business models to increase their share, Gartner Research Director Anshul Gupta said.
"With such changing smartphone market dynamics, Chinese brands are emerging as the new top global brands. Two Chinese brands ranked within the top five worldwide smartphone vendors in the first quarter of 2015, and represented 11 per cent of the market," he added.
Samsung led the market with 23.2 per cent share, followed by Apple (14.8 per cent), Huawei (8.3 per cent), Oppo (4.6 per cent) and Xiaomi (4.3 per cent).
"Samsung's Galaxy S7 series phones and renewed portfolio positioned it as a strong competitor in the smartphone market, and more so in the emerging markets where it has been facing fierce competition from local manufacturers," Gupta said.
On the other hand, Apple had its first double-digit decline year-on-year, with iPhone sales down 14 per cent. Lenovo disappeared from the top five smartphone tally in the first quarter of 2016.
"Lenovo had another challenging quarter with its worldwide smartphone sales declining 33 per cent... Lenovo is also struggling to bring synergies with Motorola's device business, managing lower costs and overheads of the two brands," Gupta said.
In terms of the smartphone operating system (OS) market, Android regained share over iOS and Windows to achieve 84 per cent share. Apple's iOS had 14.8 per cent share, while Windows and BlackBerry had 0.7 per cent and 0.2 per cent share, respectively.