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

Worldwide smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2016 witnessed slowest growth ever, International Data Corporation (IDC) reported, citing Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker (WQMPT).

Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 334.9 million smartphones globally in the first quarter of 2016, just 0.2 percent up from the 334.3 million shipped in the same period in 2015 marking the smallest year-over-year growth on record.

The slow growth in smartphone shipments has primarily been attributed to the saturation in developed markets. Reigning leader Samsung and second placed Apple bore the brunt as their devices' sales were negative in Q1 2016. They registered -0.6 percent and -16.3 percent growth, respectively.

However, Chinese vendors Oppo and Vivo made remarkable strides in their home region, India and other emerging markets to displace Lenovo and Xiaomi as the fourth and fifth biggest smartphone makers in the world. They recorded a staggering growth of 153.2 percent and 123.8 percent, respectively.

Huawei, which has been placed third for quite a few years, has managed to retain its place in the top 5 mobile-makers chart.

"Lenovo benefited with Average Selling Prices (ASPs) below $150 in 2013, and Xiaomi picked up the mantle with ASPs below $200 in 2014 and 2015. Now Huawei, OPPO, and vivo, which play mainly in the sub-$250 range, are positioned for a strong 2016," Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC's WQMPT, said in a statement.

Despite the slowdown in shipments, Samsung and Apple were able to remain the first and second best phone makers, respectively.

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

If the Chinese companies intend to put up any challenge for Samsung and Apple, they should try to enter matured markets like America and Europe with premium phones, Anthony Scarsella, research manager at IDC's mobile phone team, noted.

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, Market Share and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2016 Preliminary Data (Units in Millions):

Smartphone company 1Q, 2016 Shipment Volume 1Q, 2016 Market share 1Q, 2015 Shipment Volume 1Q, 2015 Market share Year-on-Year Change
Samsung 81.9 24.5% 82.4 24.6% -0.6%
Apple 51.2 15.3% 61.2 18.3% -16.3%
Huawei 27.5 8.2% 17.4 5.2% 58.4%
Oppo 18.5 5.5% 7.3 2.2% 153%
Vivo 14.3 4.3% 6.4 1.9% 123%
Others 141.5 42.3% 159.8 47.8% -11.4%
Total 334.9 100% 334.4 100% 0.2%