(Reuters) - The pre-Christmas shopping season is likely to boost cellphone sales less that usual this year as a weaker global economy forces consumers to cut back, research firm Gartner said on Wednesday.
"It will be a cautious quarter. Consumers are either cautious with their spending or finding new gadgets like tablets, as more attractive presents," Gartner analysts said.
Gartner said sales of cellphones declined 3 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, falling for the third quarter in a row, while sales of smartphones grew 47 percent.
Smartphone growth this year is boosted by strong demand in China, where annual sales will grow to 165-170 million from 78 million a year earlier, it said.
"There is huge growth coming from the Chinese market," said Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta.
This is helping local players to climb in global cellphone rankings, with ZTE, Huawei and TCL now among the seven largest cellphone vendors globally, Gartner said.
Samsung Electronics continues to lead the global cellphone sales ranking, ahead of Nokia and Apple. In smartphone sales Nokia, which still lead the market early last year, dropped to No 7, Gartner said.
(Reporting By Tarmo Virki)