Global smartphone sales slumped by 22 MILLION devices last year as people stuck with their old handsets rather than invest in expensive new gadgets

Smartphone sales plummeted by 21.9 million handsets in the last year as customers appear to shun new phones. 

Experts say sales dropped by 6.6 per cent for the first quarter of 2019 compared to the start of 2018.

Comments from consumers suggest they are growing weary of handsets that look, feel and perform in a similar way.

One expert says users are fed up of ‘marginal gains‘ between each generation of handset, which fail to live up to the price hikes each year. 

Instead of buying a new device, people seem to be opting to stick with their old handset instead. 

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Many smartphones from major manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG and more all offer devices which are similar in appearance, size and capabilities. 

Figures from market research firm International Data Corporation released in their in their quarterly report revealed the drop-off. 

Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, commented on the slowing market in an interview with . 

One smartphone user told CNBC: ‘Phones are supposed to be for calling, for texting and for being connected with the world.

‘I don‘t think that I really need to pay that much to have this because I can pay a lot less and still be satisfied.‘ 

Mr Wood explained that consumers are tired and bored of similar handsets being expensive to buy and called it ‘one over-arching problem‘.

The only major firm to buck this trend was Huawei as the Chinese tech giant saw a boost in sales. 

Ryan Reith, programme vice president with IDC, said: ‘The overall smartphone market continues to be challenged in almost all areas, yet Huawei was able to grow shipments by  50 per cent, not only signifying a clear number two in terms of market share but also closing the gap on the market leader Samsung. 

‘This new ranking of Samsung, Huawei, and Apple is very likely what we‘ll see when 2019 is all said and done.‘

However, Huawei‘s future sales will have likely take a hit going forward following the international fallout and commercial exile following the US sanctions and the revoking of its Android license. 

At its inception at the start of the century, the mobile phone market was awash with innovation and creativity which captivated customers. 

Spinning handsets, sliding keyboards and the flip phone all had moments of popularity before the advent of the QWERTY keyboard and eventually the touch screen dominated the sector. 

In this initial bout of imagination sales went through the roof, but the predictability and saturation of the market has left customers feeling uninspired, Mr Wood said.  

‘The marginal gains over the different generation of products started to slow down,‘ he added.

A wealth of options are now flooding the market as big tech firms try to find a way to kick-start their sales and boost revenue. 

Folding phones are being heralded as the next major innovation but have faced serious hardware limitations in their roll out. 

Samsung‘s Fold was sent out to reviewers before several had serious issues with the screen malfunctioning due to the stress of being bent. 

Samsung then delayed the launch of the phone following this startling revelation. 

Huawei also unveiled the Mate X, its own folding phone, earlier this year at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

Other manufacturers have focused on the phone‘s screen to entice customers, with Sony launching the Xperia 1, also at MWC, which is aimed at movie lovers. 

The X1 is the flagship model which has a 21:9 aspect ratio, the same as a cinema screen, and is specifically aimed at avid TV and film lovers. 

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GLOBAL SMARTPHONE SHIPMENT FIGURES  Company First quarter 2019 Shipment Volumes (millions) First quarter 2018 Shipment Volumes (millions) 1. Samsung 71.9 78.2 2. Huawei 59.1 39.3 3. Apple 36.4 52.2 4. Xiaomi 25 27.8 5. vivo* 23.2 18.7 5. OPPO* 23.1 24.6 Others 72.1 91.9 Total 310.8 332.7

MailOnline wrote in its review at the time of its release that its ‘widespread appeal remains unknown beyond hardcore movie fanatics.‘ 

Rokit, a budding tech firm in the US, has taken a different approach to smartphone sales and has pinned its success on a 3D screen and specially cultivated content. 

It also hopes to differentiate itself with a ‘life services‘ bundle which provides insurance and protection against a host of real-world issues.

It‘s campaign to crack the market is being spearheaded by the vast library of 3D content but is complimented by its cheapness as well as a range of real-world benefits such as life insurance, funeral care and roadside breakdown cover. 

Some firms have however focused on the camera on their devices, with Nokia and Huawei both releasing phones dedicated to the on-the-go snapper. 

The PureView smartphone has five camera lenses which work together to take images – a world first for a smartphone.

The photos captured by the device are said to have a resolution of up to 240 megapixels thanks to a clever combination system from the five sensors. 

Huawei unveiled the P30 and P30 Pro in March which are designed to let people take the best pictures possible.

Huawei has equipped the handsets with three or four cameras, depending on the model, to increase light and picture quality and added impressive zoom and low-light capabilities. 

Another promising revenue for phone technology is the imminent explosion of 5G which will see ultra-fast internet come to handsets. 

HOW DO THE LEADING SMARTPHONES ON THE MARKET COMPARE? 

 Huawei P30 Pro

 6.47in curved full HD+ OLED HDR display

Quad Leica engineered rear camera system, including 20-megapixel ultra wide angle lens, 40MP wide angle, 8MP, 5x optical zoom telephoto lens and time of flight (ToF) sensor, 32MP selfie camera

Enlarged camera sensors for brighter and clearer low-light photography 

Super Portrait mode photographs with multiple layers of bokeh (background blur)

 Facial recognition and in-screen fingerprint sensor biometric security 

 128GB and 512GB storage options  

 IP68 water resistance

 iPhone XS Max  

6.5in Super Retina OLED display

Dual 12-megapixel telephoto and wide-angle rear cameras, 7-megapixel

Front-facing camera

4K video recording at 24, 30 and 60 frames per second

Portrait mode selfies with bokeh effect (background blur)

Face ID facial recognition software

Wireless battery charging

Up to 25 hours talk time battery life

64GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options

IP68 water resistance

 Samsung Galaxy S10+

6.4in Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Display

Triple lens rear camera system – 12-megapixel telephoto 

 Wide-angle lens and 16MP ultra-wide angle lens, dual 10MP selfie 

8MP RGB depth camera on the front

4K ultra HD video recording at 60 frames per second

Live focus photography with bokeh effect (background blur)

Facial recognition and in-screen fingerprint scanner biometric security 

128GB, 512GB and 1TB storage options

IP68 water resistance

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