Feature phones appear to be on the rise again, while smartphone sales are weakening, a new industry research has claimed this week. 

On Wednesday, Korea Herald learned from industry tracker Counterpoint Research that there’s been an increase in the global shipments of feature phones as the smartphone makers struggle to lure more consumers into buying or upgrading to their latest-generation handsets. 

Global data compiled by the firm showed that feature phones saw a 3 percent jump from last year with its 112 million units shipments from the July to September period. The increment is very evident in emerging markets where phones with basic functions are preferred by most consumers. 

A big portion of the total feature phone shipments accounted for units that were delivered to the Middle East and African markets. Sales in the two markets reportedly shot up 32 percent. Shipments to the Middle East, Africa and India reportedly comprised 70 percent of the total figure. 

In comparison, feature phone shipments are less than half of smartphone shipments in the aforementioned period. However, the rise in the former is remarkable considering that the demand for smartphones has dwindled in the recent years. 

Counterpoint Research’s compiled data showed that smartphone shipments recorded 380 million units, down by 5 percent from the previous year. Meanwhile, market intelligence provider IDC noted that there’s been a 6 percent decline in global smartphone shipments during the third quarter. 

Despite the sluggish sales of smartphones, Samsung still kept its top spot by securing 19 percent share of the market. Following suit is Huawei, which outranked Apple by gaining 14 percent market share. As for the iPhone maker, it placed third with 12 percent. Rounding the top five are Chinese brands Xiaomi and Oppo with 9.7 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively.

“High penetration levels, mixed with some challenging economic times, has slowed the world's largest smartphone market,” IDC’s Ryan Reith said. ”Despite this, we believe this market will begin to recover in 2019 and beyond, driven in the short term by a large, built up refresh cycle across all segments, and in the outer years of the forecast supported by 5G migration.”

On the other hand, India’s iTel and the Finnish company HMD topped the global feature phone market with 14 percent share. Jio snagged the next spot with 11 percent, while Samsung followed suit with 8 percent.