Gartner has reported that global sales of smartphones (sold to end-users) totalled 383 million units in the third quarter of 2017, a 3% increase over the same period in 2016.
All of the top five smartphone vendors achieved double-digit growth apart from Apple, which achieved a 5.7% increase.
Anshul Gupta, Gartner research director says, "Despite market weakness in China, sales of smartphones rose in the third quarter of 2017.
“Emerging Asia/Pacific (15%) and North America (11.2% increase) drove the smartphone growth in the quarter,” he says
"In emerging Asia Pacific, both Samsung and Huawei saw healthy demand 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."
Samsung’s smartphone sales recorded a double-digit increase (19.3%) in the third quarter of 2017, the first double-digit increase for the company since the fourth quarter of 2015.
Gartner puts this down to renewed pushes of the newly designed Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8 smartphones which have brought back growing demand for Samsung smartphones against its Chinese rivals.
Apple's sales grew 5.7% year over year and has experienced a return to growth in China while also seeing strong sales in many of the emerging markets, including India.
Gartner says 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% 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% in the third quarter due to consolidation around local and lesser-known brands.
Buyers are preferring known and high-priced smartphones, which is cannibalising demand of budget smartphones from local brands.
In Western Europe and North America, demand for premium smartphones 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, which Gartner attributes to their mid-range and budget smartphones with a focus on 4G connectivity and better cameras.
Gupta adds, "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,"
“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.”