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TMCNet:  Worldwide mobile phone sales declined for the first time in 3 years: Gartner [Telecom] [Times of India]

[February 14, 2013]

Worldwide mobile phone sales declined for the first time in 3 years: Gartner [Telecom] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MUMBAI: Last year, worldwide mobile phone sales declined for the first time since 2009 ,as per the latest numbers released by a technology research firm. A total of 1.75 billion mobile phone units were sold in 2012, a 1.7% decline from 2011 sales, said Gartner Inc. However, smartphones continued to drive overall mobile phone sales, and the fourth quarter of last year saw record smartphone sales of 207.7 million units, up 38.3% from the same period last year.

"The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009," said 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." Demand for feature phones remained weak in 2012 and in the fourth quarter. Feature phone sales totaled 264.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 19.3% year-on-year. Gartner analysts expect feature phones sales to continue to fall in 2013., the technology research firm predicts that sales of worldwide smartphone sales to end users will be close to 1 billion units in 2013, and overall mobile phone sales to end users is estimated to reach 1.9 billion units.

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

"There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the number three spot in global smartphone sales," said Gupta. "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." Huawei had a good fourth quarter, which helped it reach the number three position among smartphone vendors for the first time. In 2012, Huawei sold 27.2 million smartphones to end users, up 73.8% from 2011. Samsung's resources and ability to build a broad market reach is an advantage that no other competitor can easily match. However, the competition will intensify in 2013 as players such as Sony and Nokia improve., Gartner said.

(c) 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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