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Samsung’s smartphone shipments to see first-ever drop

APTOPIX Germany IFA Tech FairAPTOPIX Germany IFA Tech Fair
Smartphones of the electronic company Samsung are displayed after a press conference at the company's stand at the IFA 2015 tech fair in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015.Photograph by Michael Sohn — AP

Samsung is projected to see its first-ever annual sales drop in the latter half of 2015. The drop will be small, around 1%, according to a new report from global research firm TrendForce.

The news comes soon after Samsung released its Q3 earnings estimates where the South Korean firm expects to have its best quarter in nearly two years. The turn-around is attributed to strong sales in its computer chip and display businesses, not its smartphone unit.

Despite the predicted drop, Samsung will stay the world’s top smartphone brand, accounting for nearly 25% of global smartphone shipments in the third quarter, and ship 323.5 million smartphones in 2015.

TrendForce attributes Samsung’s expected slowdown to competition from Chinese smartphone vendors in the low-end and mid-range smartphone market, as well as weak smartphone demand thanks to an expected slowdown in the global economy in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL), the world’s number two smartphone maker, has its work cut out for it in 2015 in order to match last year’s staggering iPhone 6 shipments. “[T]o surpass the incredible overall shipment result of iPhone 6 will be quite challenging for iPhone 6s as there is not much that sets apart the two devices appearance-wise.” Even so, Apple is expected to ship 223.7 million iPhones in 2015, a 16% year-over-year gain from last year.

Huawei continues to impress and made notable gains in 2015. “Not only has the vendor achieved its target of 100 million units shipped this year, its annual result may be able to touch the 110 million unit mark as well,” the report says.

According to the report, the tech company will be the first Chinese smartphone manufacturer to reach 100 million units shipped in a year. However, the report claims its solitary success will be short-lived, with other Chinese firms, such as OPPO and VIVO, poised to join the company in the 100 million club in 2016.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi continues to struggle, and is projected to miss hitting its 2015 target of 100 million shipments.

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