Mobile phone sales decline

A new report  from Gartner has shown that global mobile phone sales dropped in 2012 – the first decline in 3 years.

According to Gartner, worldwide mobile sales totalled 1.75 billion units in 2012 – down 1.7% from total sales in 2011.

Even so, the fourth quarter of the year (2012) saw a record figure of 207.7 million units sold – up 38.3% from the same period in 2011.

The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009, according to Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year,” he said.

Demand for feature phones was weak (declining 19.3% year on year), with Gartner expecting to see the trend continue into 2013.

Looking at 2013, Gartner is more bullish, expecting smartphone sales to hit 1 billion units, and overall mobile phone sales to top 1.9 billion by year-end.

Apple vs Samsung continues

In the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple and Samsung together raised their worldwide smartphone market share to 52% from 46.4% in the third quarter of 2012, Gartner said.

“The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products. Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers, who, in a tough economic environment, go for cheaper products over brand,” Gupta said.

Samsung ended the year in the number 1 position, in both worldwide smartphone sales and overall mobile phone sales.

Nokia, although maintaining second position in overall mobile units sold, saw a 53.6% decline in year-on-year sales.

“Nokia needs to build on momentum around Asha in 2013 by adding devices and apps to further enhance its overall value proposition and, in doing so, moving up the price point slightly to achieve better margins breaching the gap left by Symbian,” Gartner said

Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales by Vendor – 4Q12 (Thousands of Units)

Vendor 4Q12 Units
4Q12 Market share (%)
4Q11 Units 4Q11 Market share (%)
Samsung 106,957.7 22.7 93,830.3 19.6
Nokia 85,054.8 18.0 111,699.4 23.4
Apple 43,457.4 9.2 35,456.0 7.4
ZTE 16,160.6 3.4 18,915.1 4.0
LG Electronics 14,981.3 3.2 16,938.3 3.5
Huawei 13,679.1 2.9 13,966.1 2.9
TCL 11,097.6 2.4 10,695.3 2.2
Lenovo 8,305.4 1.8 5,206.3 1.1
Sony Mobile 7,946.6 1.7 8,935.7 1.9
Motorola 7,822.2 1.7 10,075.3 2.1
Others 156,613.7 33.2 151,985.1 31.8
Total 472,076.4 100.0 477,703.0 100.0

Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales by Vendor – 2012 (Thousands of Units)

Vendor 2012 Units 2012 Market share (%) 2011 Units 2011 Market share (%)
Samsung 384,631.2 22.0 315,052.2 17.7
Nokia 333,938.0 19.1 422,478.3 23.8
Apple 130,133.2 7.5 89,263.2 5.0
ZTE 67,344.4 3.9 56,881.8 3.2
LG Electronics 58,015.9 3.3 86,370.9 4.9
Huawei 47,288.3 2.7 40,663.4 2.3
TCL 37,176.6 2.1 34,037.5 1.9
BlackBerry (Prev. RIM) 34,210.3 2.0 51,541.9 2.9
Motorola 33,916.3 1.9 40,269.1 2.3
HTC 32,121.8 1.8 43,266.9 2.4
Others 587,399.6 33.6 595,886.9 33.6
Total 1,746,175.6 100.0 1,775,712.0 100.0

Android dominates

In the smartphone operating system market, Android captured almost 70% of the OS market, widening the gap with Apple’s iOS.

While Android grew its fourth quarter market share, BlackBerry declined 44.4% in the same period.

“2013 will be the year of the rise of the third ecosystem as the battle between the new BlackBerry 10 and Widows Phone intensifies,” Gupta said.

“As carriers and vendors feel the pressure of the strong Android’s growth, alternative operating systems such as Tizen, Firefox, Ubuntu and Jolla will try and carve out an opportunity by positioning themselves as profitable alternatives.”

Worldwide Smartphone Sales by Operating System – 4Q12 (Thousands of Units)

Operating System
4Q12 Units 4Q12 Market share (%) 4Q11 Unit 4Q11 Market share (%)
Android 144,720.3 69.7 77,054.2 51.3
iOS 43,457.4 20.9 35,456.0 23.6
BlackBerry (Prev. RIM) 7,333.0 3.5 13,184.5 8.8
Windows Phone 6,185.5 3.0 2,759.0 1.8
Bada 2,684.0 1.3 3,111.3 2.1
Symbian 2,569.1 1.2 17,458.4 11.6
Others 713.1 0.3 1,166.5 0.8
Total 207,662.4 100.0 150,189.9 100.0

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Mobile phone sales decline