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Aug 20, 2:58 PM EDT

Gartner says smartphone sales growth slows


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NEW YORK (AP) -- Worldwide sales of smartphones in the second quarter grew at the slowest pace since 2013 as sales in China declined for the first time, according to research firm Gartner Inc.

Gartner said Thursday that smartphone sales grew 13.5 percent to 330 million units in the second quarter compared with a year earlier. While demand continues to increase in emerging markets, Gartner says overall smartphone sales were mixed. Smartphone sales in China fell 4 percent year-over-year - the first such decline for the world's most populous country and biggest market for smartphones.

China accounted for 30 percent of total smartphone sales in the second quarter. But Gartner says it has reached saturation, as its phone market is driven by replacement purchases instead of first-time buyers.

Samsung "premium" phones continued to be challenged by Apple's large-screen iPhones during the quarter, Gartner said. Samsung lost market share while Apple gained some.

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