The global sales of smartphones have recorded the worst fall in 2018, and prospects for 2019 are not much better, according to new market research.
Data on the sale of mobile phones in the world fell by 4.1% in 2018 to a total of 1.4 billion units, according to the IDC research firm, which sees the potential for further reduction this year.
"In the world, the smartphone market is currently a disaster," said IDC analyst Rian Reith.
"Outside several high growth markets like India, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam, we did not see much positive activity in 2018."
Reith said marketers were affected by consumers who are waiting to replace their phones, frustrated with the high cost of premium devices and political and economic uncertainty.
The Chinese market, which makes up about 30% of sales of smartphones, was particularly hit by a 10% drop, according to IDC analysis, which was released on Wednesday.
The IDC announced that the top five smartphone manufacturers have strengthened and now account for 69% of global sales, compared to 63% a year ago.
Samsung remained the largest phone maker with a market share of 20.8%, despite a drop in sales of eight percent a year, IDC said.
Apple managed to regain the number two position with 14.9% of the market share, ahead of Huawei with 14.7%, according to the survey.
IDC said sales of smartphones fell by 4.9% in the fourth quarter, the fifth consecutive quarter of decline.