Have we hit peak smartphone? Global growth hits two-year low as China's sales decline for first time ever

Clara Guibourg
Follow Clara
96.8 per cent of phones now run on either Android or Apple's iOS (Source: Getty)

Is Peak Smartphone upon us? Drooping sales in China have caused smartphone sales to hit the brakes with the slowest growth rate since 2013, according to Gartner’s latest report, released today.

In China, the world’s largest market, sales have fallen for the first time ever, with a four per cent decline year on year.

Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, notes that the Chinese market represents 30 per cent of global smartphone sales in the period:

Its poor performance negatively affected the performance of the mobile phone market in the second quarter.

Interestingly, Gartner suggests the Chinese market has reached "saturation":

Its phone market is essentially driven by replacement, with fewer first-time buyers. Beyond the lower-end phone segment, the appeal of premium smartphones will be key for vendors to attract upgrades and to maintain or grow their market share in China.

Despite weak growth, smartphone sales are some way off from stalling entirely yet, with global sales increasing 13.5 per cent year on year. Emerging markets in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East are the fastest-growing regions.

Android and Apple’s iOS have continued tightening their grip on the smartphone market over the period. The latest figures show their dominance growing to the point where 96.8 per cent of all phones now run on one of these two operating systems, much to the dismay of Microsoft and Blackberry, whose grips on the market both continue to slide.

Related articles