The global smartphone market slumped by 4 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter, although there are signs of stabilisation leading to an improved outlook for the rest of the year, Strategy Analytics reported.

Some 330.4 million units were shipped in Q1, although the research company noted the drop was less severe than before and this was the industry’s best performance for three quarters.

In a statement, Linda Sui, director, said: “Global smartphone shipments are finally showing signs of stabilising, due to relatively improved demand in major markets like China. The outlook for later this year is improving.”

Samsung remained the biggest smartphone vendor, although its market share slid while second-placed Huawei made big gains. The South Korean vendor still has some headway over its Chinese rival, but Strategy Analytics noted the pressure is growing, aided by Huawei’s presence in the huge China market.

Neil Mawston, executive director, said: “Huawei is closing in on Samsung and streaking ahead of Apple due to its presence across China, Western Europe and Africa.”

Like Samsung, third-placed Apple’s market share slipped, as it suffered from weakness in China and failed to make headway in the price-sensitive India market. The analyst company said price cuts in China and India during recent weeks indicate iPhone will “bounce back slightly” in these countries in the next quarter.

Xiaomi took fourth spot on market share broadly at the same level year-on-year, with Strategy Analytics noting strength in India, but struggles in China.

Rounding out the top-five was Oppo, which increased market share as it kicked off its Western European expansion plans.