A recent study shows the first worldwide decline of smartphone since 2004. This intensive international study was conducted by Gartner, the world’s top research institution. The research was led by Anshul Gupta, the company research director. Its study shows that 2017 only saw the sale of 408 million smartphones in the fourth quarter and 1.5 billion during this entire year. While this seems like a lot, this is actually a 5.6 percent decline from 2016. Some of this is because more users are opting to retain their current phones without updating them.

In addition, the numbers were low because iPhone’s newest version, iPhone X, came out later than iPhone typically releases new versions. When it did, deliveries were longer because there were more component shortages and manufacturing capacity constraints than usual. Things are particularly hurting in China which has been known for several years as one of the top smartphone countries in the world. But last year, the Gartner study showed that there is even a very apparent smartphone sale decline in that country.

But despite its decided decline in this area, China remains the world leader in smartphone sales. In fact, the smartphone vendors in China were the only vendors in the world to increase their market shares in the third quarter of 2016. These vendors accounted for 21 percent of all smartphones sold at that time. The vendors in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Russia, while part of the worldwide decline, have also done relatively well. But like many Smartphone markets throughout the world, they will eventually stop doing well if their numbers keep declining.

The Gartner researchers concluded that overall the worldwide popularity of smartphones is simply in decline. Like China, although Android has experienced somewhat of a setback, it retains its lead which became even greater while its competitors became much lesser in 2017. Only time will tell what the current year will bring. We hope that that that time will heal this wound.