According to Gartner figures, the first quarter of 2012 saw 419 million mobile phones shifted worldwide, but that actually represented a decline of 2 per cent on Q1 2011. This is the first quarter in which sales have seen a slump since Q2 2009.
And the reason? Slow sales in Asia, apparently. Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, commented: “Global sales of mobile devices declined more than expected due to a slowdown in demand from the Asia/Pacific region.”
“The first quarter, traditionally the strongest quarter for Asia – which is driven by Chinese New Year, saw a lack of new product launches from leading manufacturers, and users delayed upgrades in the hope of better smartphone deals arriving later in the year.”
In terms of individual vendors, Samsung pushed Nokia off the top spot, claiming a 20.7 per cent share of the mobile market, up from 16.1 per cent year-on-year. Nokia found itself in second place for the first time since 1998, on 19.8 per cent (which was down from 25.1 per cent).
There was also good news for Apple, with the firm moving up to third place on 7.9 per cent, doubling up from 3.9 per cent the previous year. ZTE also leapt ahead of last year’s third place vendor, LG. ZTE managed a 4.2 per cent market share, with LG slipping from 5.6 per cent to 3.5 per cent.
Huawei moved ahead of RIM, too, with the firm in sixth place on 2.6 per cent, ahead of RIM’s 2.4 per cent (which was down from 3 per cent last year).
Apple’s rise isn’t surprising, as Gupta notes: “Smartphone sales are becoming of paramount importance at a worldwide level. For example, smartphone volumes contributed to approximately 43.9 per cent of overall sales for Samsung as opposed to 16 per cent for Nokia.”