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Smartphone sales fell overall in the last quarter of 2017 for the first time ever. According to the report, around 408 million smartphones were sold in Q4 2017, but as impressive as these numbers are, they reveal a decline of 5.6 percent from Q4 2016.

Worldwide smartphone sales have dropped for the first time after years of unbroken growth.

Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said that future growth opportunities for Huawei will reside in winning market share in emerging APAC and the U.S. Huawei is facing tough market conditions in the United States due to perception related to security issues.

Gartner says that the decline in sales is due to lack of low cost, quality smartphones and the users' preference for buying quality feature phones. And people who already own smartphones are upgrading to higher-end models and holding onto them longer, he added. As Gartner's Anshul Gupta put it, "High expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales".

Samsung continues to be the market share leader despite a 3.6 percent decline with 74 million units shipped, compared to $76.8 million in Q4 2016.

The success of these new phones will determine the growth in profit and average selling price of Samsung devices. Samsung is poised to announce the successors to its Galaxy series of smartphones at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year.

"The launches of its next flagship devices are likely to boost Samsung's smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2018", the report said. "We expect good demand for the iPhone X to likely bring a delayed sales boost for Apple in the first quarter of 2018", Gupta said.

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Apple's performance in Q4 was also impacted by the fact its over hyped iPhone X arrived late and drove slower upgrades of its other two new smartphones, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturers Huawei and Xiaomi were the only smartphone vendors to achieve year-on-year unit growth at 7.6 and 79 percent, respectively, with market share also growing.

Smartphones sales for all of 2017 increased by 2.7 percent from the previous year to 1.5 billion. Huawei, ranked No. 3 with 9.8 percent share, raised its share in 2017, continuing to gain on Apple (14.0%).

Xiaomi's competitive smartphone portfolio, consisting of its Mi and Redmi models, helped accelerate its growth in the emerging Asia/Pacific (APAC) market.

"Apple was in a different position this quarter than it was 12 months before", said Gupta.

"Future growth opportunities for Huawei will reside in winning market share in emerging APAC and the US", Gupta said.


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