American research and advisory firm, Gartner Inc, said smartphones sales declined for the first time ever after a 5.6 per cent decrease in sales in the last quarter in 2017 compared to the last year.
This is the first year-on-year decline since Gartner started monitoring the global smartphone market in 2004.
According to Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner there are two supposed reasons for the decline in the fourth quarter.
“First, upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed down due to a lack of quality 'ultra-low-cost' smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones.
"Second, replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones. While demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales."
Despite an overall decline in smartphone sales, Huawei and Xiaomi both showed year-on-year growth with an increase in sales of 7.6 and 7.9 respectively.
Samsung suffered a year-on-year decline of 3.6 per cent in the last quarter of 2017 but despite this remains in the top spot as the No. 1 global smartphone vendor, beating its biggest opponent, Apple.
According to Gartner, in the fourth quarter of 2017, Samsung sold 74 million smartphones whereas Apple sold 73.2 million in the same period.
Gupta added that they did, however, expect a delayed sales boost for Apple in the first quarter of 2018 as they recover from component shortages and manufacturing capacity constraints experienced early in December 2017.
Even though other research has reported on a small drop in smartphones two years ago, this is the first time Gartner, considered the more reliable industry tracker, has reported a decline.