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It's not just Apple: Global smartphone market shrinks for the first time ever

Research firm Strategy Analytics says smartphone sales dropped 3 percent last year, with Samsung leading the slowing market.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple said on Tuesday that its iPhone sales dropped for the first time ever, but it looks like the American giant isn't the only one struggling to keep numbers up.

Global smartphone shipments fell 3 percent year-on-year in 2016's first quarter, Strategy Analytics said in a release.

"It is the first time ever since the modern smartphone market began in 1996 that global shipments have shrunk on an annualized basis," said Linda Sui, the firm's director. "Global smartphone shipments fell 3 percent annually from 345 million units in Q1 2015 to 334.6 million in Q1 2016."

She said that the reasons for the drop are market saturation in countries like China and "consumer caution about the future of the world economy."

Samsung is still leading in market share, according to Strategy Analytics, having sold 79 million phones -- nearly 4 million less than were sold in Q1 of 2015 -- which represents 23.6 percent of the market. Apple is number two, with 51.2 million iPhones sold at 15.3 percent of the market squared.