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As the Smartphone Market Grows, the iPhone’s Share Is Shrinking

May 19, 2016, 2:54 PM UTC

The smartphone market has not been kind to Apple in the first quarter, according to new data from research firm Gartner.

Apple sold 51.6 million iPhones during the first quarter of the year, making the company the world’s second-largest smartphone maker and earning it 14.8% market share. However, that was down from 60.2 million iPhone sales in the first quarter of 2015. Apple’s market share a year ago was also substantially higher at 17.9%.

The iPhone maker’s troubles came about despite a growing smartphone market. In fact, Gartner found that consumers around the world bought more than 349 million smartphones, topping the 336.3 million smartphones bought during the first quarter of 2015. So, while the smartphone market itself grew, Apple (AAPL) earned a smaller slice.

It was a similar story for Samsung, which saw its industry-leading market share shrink from 24.1% in the first quarter of 2015 to the 23.2% last quarter. However, Samsung’s total unit sales were up slightly to 81.2 million units.

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Gartner’s findings are not all that surprising given Apple’s recent quarterly financial report. The Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation announced last month that for the first time in the iPhone’s history, revenue was down year-over-year by 18% to $32.9 billion. The company’s unit sales were also down 16%.

While Apple (and many analysts) argued that its troubles would not be long-term in the smartphone market, it was a notable decline and one that investors were concerned about. Some analysts say Apple’s iPhone business could be down iuntil the company launches the iPhone 7 later this year.

It’s important to note, however, that despite those troubles, Apple still generated billions in profits in its last-reported fiscal quarter.

Still, the first quarter was rough on Apple. The chief reason for that, according to Gartner, was “emerging brands.” The market intelligence firm noted that China-based Huawei saw its sales soar in the first quarter from 18.1 million units last year to nearly 29 million this year. Oppo, another Chinese smartphone maker, had the best year-over-year performance, more than doubling its market share from 2% last year to 4.6% this year. Oppo sold 16.1 million smartphones during the period.

“In a slowing smartphone market where large vendors are experiencing growth saturation, emerging brands are disrupting existing brands’ long-standing business models to increase their share,” Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. “With such changing smartphone market dynamics, Chinese brands are emerging as the new top global brands.”

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On the operating system side, Gartner told a similar story. Google’s (GOOGL) Android grew its worldwide market share from 78.8% during the first quarter of 2015 to 84.1% last quarter. Apple’s iOS, meanwhile, was down from 17.9% share to 14.8% this year.

Microsoft (MSFT) had about as bad of a first quarter as Apple, as sales of its Windows-based smartphones fell from 8.3 million units to 2.4 million. The company’s market share slid from 2.5% to 0.7% of the worldwide smartphone industry.