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Smartphone sales decline for the first time; Samsung stays on top




Journalists and bloggers get a closer look at the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone at the Samsung press conference ahead of the IFA consumer electronics fair on August 30, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.
Journalists and bloggers get a closer look at the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone at the Samsung press conference ahead of the IFA consumer electronics fair on August 30, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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Smartphone sales fell for the first time ever in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Gartner.

Handset makers sold nearly 408 million smartphones, down 5.6 percent from the same period a year ago, the research firm said. That marks the first annual decline since the firm started tracking the smartphone market in 2004.

People are waiting longer to upgrade their phones, according to Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta. Those who already own higher-end models are holding on to them longer.

Meanwhile, it's become harder for handset vendors to make huge changes in their devices and differentiate from one another. Samsung managed to hold on to the No. 1 position in the fourth quarter, even though its unit sales slid 3.6 percent to 74 million units; Apple came in second with sales down 5 percent to 73.2 million.

Guest:

Shara Tibken, senior reporter for CNET News who focuses on Samsung and Apple; she covered the story; she tweets @sharatibken



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