China’s smartphone market is heading into a recession faster than expected, as shipments of Chinese smartphones ushered in an overall decline for the first time in 2017, Yicai.com reported.

Among the latest figures released by Canalys, a market research firm, shipments of smartphones in China saw a decline of 4% from a year earlier, recording only 459 million units in 2017.

Jia Mo, an analyst from Canalys, thinks consumers have completed the upgrade from phones with basic functions to entry-level smartphones. Meanwhile, the life cycle of mobile phones continue to extend, thus their intention of replacement is not high.

A report done by an American research firm Zenith said the number of smartphone users in China will rank first in the world by 2018, with an average of one person per phone.

However, entry-level smartphones already have relatively complete functions, including an average life cycle of 26.8 months.

Prior to the onset of 5G technology, China’s mobile phone market was expected to remain in a stagnant position or “zero growth,” according to the Canalys report.