Smartphone manufacturers shipped 334.3 million units during the first quarter of 2018, which resulted in a 2.9 per cent decline compared to the 344.4 million units shipped in the same period last year.
This is according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
The China market was the biggest driver of this fall, with shipment volumes dropping to below 100 million in the quarter. IDC said this has not occurred since the third quarter of 2013.
Samsung remained the leader in the worldwide market, taking a 23.4 per cent share, despite experiencing a 2.4 per cent decrease from the first quarter of 2017. IDC pointed to the new S9 and S9+ flagships leading the way.
Meanwhile, Apple's first quarter saw 52.2 million iPhones sold, representing a 2.8 per cent year-on-year increase from the 50.8 million units shipped last year. The company stated that its iPhone X was the most popular model each week in the period.
Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said: “Despite new flagships from the likes of Samsung and Huawei, along with the first full quarter of iPhone X shipments, consumers looked unwilling to shell out big money for the latest and greatest devices on the market.”
He added the “abundance of ultra-high-end flagships with big price tags” released over the past 12 to 18 months has likely halted the upgrade cycle in the near term.
According to Mr Scarsella, it appears that consumers are unwilling to pay high figures for new devices that brings “minimal upgrades over their current device”. He said that more affordable premium devices could be the solution to push shipments back in a positive direction.