The global smartphone market is on track to grow just 4.5% during 2016, rocked by a decline in sales in the premium segment, Gartner predicts.
The research firm estimates that premium smartphone sales will decline 1.1% for the year, with owners having less incentive to upgrade to the latest models.
Overall smartphone sales are on track to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016. While the market is slowing as smartphones reach global saturation, Chinese vendors are stimulating sales in the Android segment of the market by offering more affordable premium devices.
But Gartner expects the market for premium smartphones to return to 3.5% growth next year as stronger replacement cycles emerge.
The predicted upswing is also in anticipation of Apple's expected launch of a new iPhone with a new design and features attractive enough to convince smartphone owners to upgrade.
Total mobile phone shipments are meanwhile on place to fall 1.6% in 2016, while tablet sales are set to decline from 196 million units in 2015 to 177 million in 2016.
Worldwide combined device shipments - which also include PCs, laptops and related devices, are expected to decline for the second consecutive year, falling 3% to 2.34 billion units.