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This 2018 was the "worst year" for the smartphone market

Global smartphone sales have seen the greatest contraction in 2018, and prospects for 2019 are not much better, according to a new market research.

Data on mobile phones sold worldwide decreased by 4.1% in 2018 to a total of 1.4 billion units, according to the research firm IDC, which sees the potential for further decline this year.

"Around the world smartphone market is a disaster at the moment," said IDC analyst Ryan Reit.

"Out of several high growth markets like India, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam, in 2018 we did not see much positive action"

Reith said the market is hit by consumers who are waiting for longer to replace their phones, frustrated by the high cost of premium devices and political and economic insecurity.

The Chinese market, which is about 30 percent of smartphone sales, was particularly hit by a 10 percent drop, according to the IDC analysis, released Wednesday.

IDC said the top five smartphone manufacturers have grown and now account for 69% of global sales, compared with 63% a year ago.

Samsung remains the number one manufacturer of telephones with a market share of 20.8%, despite a decline in sales of eight percent a year, IDC said.

Apple managed to regain the number two position with a market share of 14.9%, ahead of Huawei with 14.7%, according to the investigation.

IDC said smartphone sales in the fourth quarter dropped 4.9 percent, the fifth consecutive quarter-on-quarter decline.

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