Global sales of smartphones to end users have returned to growth in the first quarter of 2018 with a 1.3 percent increase over the same period in 2017, while South tech giant, Samsung led the market with 20.5 percent share, it was followed by Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi and OPPO respectively, as per the Gartner report.
The report said nearly 384 million smartphones were sold in the first quarter of 2018, representing 84 percent of total mobile phones sold.
"Demand for premium and high-end smartphones continued to suffer due to marginal incremental benefits during the upgrade," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner.
The firm noted that Xiaomi was the clear winner of the first quarter, achieving a growth of 124 percent year on year. Xiaomi's refreshed portfolio of smartphones and aggressive pricing strategy helped it hold the No. 4 spot in the first quarter of 2018.
"This strategy led Xiaomi to achieve 330 percent growth in the Emerging Asia/Pacific region," Gupta added.
However, Gartner informed that Samsung's smartphone growth rate will remain under pressure through 2018, with Chinese brand's growing dominance and expansion into Europe and Latin America markets.
Samsung is challenged to raise the average selling price (ASP) of its smartphones while facing increasing competition from Chinese brands that are taking more market share.
The delayed sales boost for Apple from last quarter materialized. Apple's smartphone unit sales returned to growth in the first quarter of 2018, with an increase of 4 percent year on year.
"Even though demand for Apple's iPhone X exceeded that of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, the vendor struggled to drive significant smartphone replacements, which led to slower-than-expected growth in the first quarter of 2018," Gupta further added.
"With its exclusive focus on premium smartphones, Apple needs to significantly raise the overall experience of its next-generation iPhones to trigger replacements and lead to solid growth in the near future," Gupta pointed out.