Global sales of smartphones have seen their slowest rate of growth since 2008, as sales of the iPhone decline for the first time.
This is according to a new research report by Gartner on Q4 of 2015 called “Market Share: Devices, All Countries, 4Q15 Update.”
The company found that global sales of smartphones totalled 403m units in Q4 2015, which was a 9.7% increase compared to the same period in 2014.
Despite this, however, this was the slowest rate of growth since 2008.
Looking at last year as a whole, there were 1.4bn smartphone sales, which is an increase of 14.4% from 2014.
Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, explained the data, saying: “Low-cost smartphones in emerging markets, and strong demand for premium smartphones, continued to be the driving factors.
“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.”
He also said 85% of users in the emerging Asia Pacific market are replacing their current midrange phone with the same category of phone.
Another factor is that currency devaluations against the US dollar in many emerging markets is putting further margin pressure on many vendors that import devices, making some vendors consider opening manufacturing operations in India and Indonesia.
And in addition to this, iPhone sales suffered its first decline in sales of smartphones, down 4.4% – the slowest rate of growth since its launch in 2007.
On the other hand, Samsung and Huawei were the only two top smartphone vendors that saw their sales increase in the final quarter of 2015.
However, Gupta said they now face big 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.”
And Android continues to control the market share, seeing a 16.6% increase in the fourth quarter of 2015, meaning it account for 80.7% of the global total.
Check out the full report here.