Global smart phone sales up 3% at 383 mn in July-September: Gartner

The global sales of smart phones to end users totaled 383 million units in the third quarter of 2017, a 3 per cent rise over the comparable period of the previous year, according to a study by Gartner Inc.

All of the top five Smartphone vendors achieved double-digit growth apart from Apple, which achieved a 5.7 per cent increase.

"Despite market weakness in China, sales of smart phones rose in the third quarter of 2017. Emerging Asia-Pacific (15 per cent) and North America (11.2 per cent) drove the Smartphone growth in the quarter,'' said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner.

"In emerging Asia Pacific, both Samsung and Huawei saw healthy demand as along with Xiaomi and Vivo, which were able to grow their footprint outside their home markets. In North America, Samsung was the driving force in the quarter due to its new flagship products," added Gupta.

Samsung's Smartphone sales recorded a double-digit increase (19.3 per cent) in the third quarter of 2017.

"Renewed pushes of the newly designed Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8 smart phones have brought back growing demand for Samsung smart phones, which helped it compete against Chinese manufacturers and deliver a solid performance in the quarter. The last time Samsung achieved a double-digit growth was in the fourth quarter of 2015," said Gupta.

Apple's sales grew 5.7 per cent year over year. Apple returned to growth in China and also saw strong sales in many of the emerging markets, including India. This is due to the continued sales of legacy iPhones, including the iPhone 5S, which retails at around $240 street price in most markets.

Xiaomi achieved the strongest growth, exhibiting an 80 per cent increase in the third quarter of 2017. Xiaomi's growth came more from international markets than from China, where it faces strong competition from Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. India continues to be the biggest and highest-growth market for Xiaomi outside China, but growing sales from Latin America and Russia are also boosting its sales.

Greater China exhibited a decline of 11 per cent in the third quarter due to consolidation around local and lesser-known brands. Buyers are preferring known and high-priced smart phones, which is cannibalising demand of budget smart phones from local brands.

In Western Europe and North America, demand for premium smart phones from top brands led to Smartphone sales growth in the third quarter.

Leading Chinese manufacturers Oppo, Huawei, Vivo and Xiaomi continued to drive sales across emerging markets, led by their mid-price and budget smart phones with a focus on 4G connectivity and better cameras.

"The arrival of Apple's new flagship iPhones at the end of the third quarter of 2017 has delayed Smartphone purchases into the fourth quarter of 2017," said Gupta.

"Following compelling offers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the holiday season will likely boost sales of smart phones before the end of the year. We estimate the fourth quarter's Smartphone sales will boost total sales for the full year. We expect Smartphone sales will reach 1.57 billion units in 2017," concluded Gupta.