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[Representationa Image] Global smartphone sales grew 3.9% in Q1 2016; Samsung top seller: Gartner In Picture: Smartphone storeReuters

Global smartphone sales touched 349 million units in the first quarter of 2016, up 3.9 percent as compared to the same period last year, according to a Gartner report. The positive growth in smartphone sales is attributed to the surge in demand for low-cost 4G-based devices in emerging markets.

"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, a research director at Gartner, said in a statement.

"With such changing smartphone market dynamics, Chinese brands are emerging as the new top global brands. Two Chinese brands ranked within the top five worldwide smartphone vendors in the first quarter of 2015, and represented 11 percent of the market. In the first quarter of 2016, there were three Chinese brands – Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi – and they achieved 17 percent of the market," Gupta added.

Among the Chinese vendors, Oppo made a huge stride in the first quarter of 2016. It registered a staggering 145 percent growth in sales, which pushed the firm to the fourth position in the list of top five smartphone sellers.

As per the Gartner report, Samsung has further widened the lead over the arch-rival Apple as the former witnessed a surge in Galaxy S7 series sales, whereas the latter's flagship iPhone 6S received lackluster demand in the market.

Read more: Apple's revenue drops for the first time since 2003; slump in iPhone sales responsible?

Samsung stands on top of the charts with 23.1 percent, while Apple (14.8 percent) and Huawei (8.3 percent) are the second and third most selling smartphone firms in the world.

As far as the market share of smartphone operating systems is concerned, Google's Android increased its footprint by taking a bite off both Apple's iOS and Microsoft's Windows mobile OS.  

"As mature smartphone markets are reaching saturation, Google is pursuing new revenue growth opportunities by expanding the reach of its platforms in cars, wearables, connected homes, immersive experiences and more," Roberta Cozza, a research director at Gartner, said.

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 1Q16 (Thousands of Units)

Vendors

1Q-2016 (units)

1Q-2016 Market Share

1Q-2015 (units)

1Q-2015 Market Share

Samsung

81.186.9

23.2

81,112.8

24.1

Apple

51,629.5

14.8

60,177.2

17.9

Huawei

28,861.0

8.3

18,111.1

5.4

Oppo

16,112.6

4.6

6,585.1

2.0

Xiaomi

15,048.0

4.3

14,740.2

4.4

Others

156,413.4

44.8

155,561.4

46.3

Total

249,251.4

100.0

336,297.8

100.0

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 1Q16 (Thousands of Units)

Operating system

1Q-2016 (units)

1Q-2016 Market Share

1Q-2015 (units)

1Q-2015 Market Share

Android

293,771.2

84.1

264,941.9

78.8

iOS

51,629.5

14.8

60,177.2

17.9

Windows

2,399.7

0.7

8,270.8

2.5

BlackBerry

659.9

0.2

1,325.4

0.4

Others

791.1

0.2

1,582.5

0.5

Total

349,251.4

100.0

336,297.8

100.0

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