New Delhi– The smartphone vendors shipped 336.1 million units during the first quarter of 2018 — a 2.4 per cent decline when compared to the 344.4 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2017, the International Data Corporation (IDC) said on Wednesday.

The China market was the biggest driver of this decline with shipment volumes dipping below 100 million in the quarter.

Samsung remained the leader, grabbing 23.3 per cent share despite experiencing a 2.4 per cent decline from Q1 2017.

The new Galaxy S9 and S9+ led the way as the new flagships launched a quarter early for the Korean giant compared to last year’s S8 and S8+.

“Globally, as well as in China, a key bellwether, smartphone consumers are trading up to more premium devices, but there are no longer as many new smartphone converts, resulting in shipments dropping,” said Melissa Chau, Associate Research Director with IDC’s “Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers”.

“When we look at it from a dollar value perspective, the smartphone market is still climbing and will continue to grow over the years to come as consumers are increasingly reliant on these devices for the bulk of their computing needs,” Chau added.

Apple’s first quarter saw the iPhone maker ship 52.2 million iPhones, representing a modest 2.8 per cent year-over-year increase from the 50.8 million units shipped last year.

Despite rumours of an underperforming iPhone X in the quarter, Apple stated that the iPhone X was the most popular model each week in the March quarter.

Huawei climbed to a new market share high of 11.7 per cent even as it remained in third overall.

At fourth place, Xiaomi’s strong performance has no doubt been owing to its strong growth outside of China with 1Q18 the first quarter that less than half of its shipments were domestic, a transition that very few Chinese companies have reached.

“Xiaomi continues its retail expansion in India and Southeast Asia; however online channels remain the key contributor in India, its second largest market,” the IDC report noted.

OPPO held the fifth position with its year-over-year decline of 7.5 per cent more a result of the China slowdown than of its performance overseas. (IANS)