Global mobile phone sales fall 2.3pc during second quarter, Gartner says

14 Aug 2012

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Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone, which exceeded the Korean manufacturers' own expecations and was the highest-selling Android smartphone in the second quarter

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Analyst firm Gartner has reported that worldwide sales of mobile phones reached 419m in the second quarter of 2012, a decline of 2.3pc. Smartphones now account for 36.7pc of total mobile phone sales.

Samsung blazed a trail in the second quarter, with mobile phone sales up 29.5pc from the same time last year and outselling both Apple and Nokia.

Galaxy smartphones now account for 50.4pc of all Samsung mobile phone sales – some 45.6m units. The Galaxy S III exceeded Samsung’s own expectations, with 10m devices sold in the first two months – the best-selling Android smartphone of the quarter.

In the second quarter, demand for the Apple iPhone weakened, with sales falling 12.6pc from the first quarter – but these were up 47.4pc year-on-year.

This may be due to consumers holding onto their cash to buy the forthcoming next-generation iPhone, aka the iPhone 5. Q4 sales of the iPhone in the US and North America are traditionally immune to the economic climate.

Economic climate hurts mobile phone demand

“Demand slowed further in the second quarter of 2012,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“The challenging economic environment and users postponing upgrades to take advantage of high-profile device launches and promotions available later in the year slowed demand across markets. Demand of feature phones continued to decline, significantly weakening the overall mobile phone market.

“High-profile smartphone launches from key manufacturers, such as the anticipated Apple iPhone 5, along with Chinese manufacturers pushing 3G and preparing for major device launches in the second half of 2012, will drive the smartphone market upward. However, feature phones will continue to see pressure,” Gupta said.

He said Apple and Samsung have dominated the smartphone market.

“No other smartphone vendors had share close to 10pc.

“In the race to be top smartphone manufacturer in 2012, Samsung has consistently increased its lead over Apple, and its open OS marketshare increased to one-and-a-half times that of Apple in the second quarter of 2012,” Gupta added.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com