Worldwide mobile phone sales totaled 1.75 billion units in 2012, a 1.7 per cent decline from 2011, despite record smartphone sales in the fourth quarter last year, according to Gartner.
Smartphone sales totaled 207.7 million units in calendar Q4, 2012, up 38.3 per cent from the same period last year, Gartner said.
“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.”
Apple and Samsung together accounted for 52 per cent of the worldwide smartphone market during the fourth quarter of 2012 from 46.4 per cent the quarter in 2011.
Samsung sold 64.5 million smartphones during the quarter, up 85.3 per cent on Q4, 2011. Apple sold 43.5 million units during the period, up 22.6 per cent year-on-year.
Gartner said although the demand for iPhones in Q4 remaining strong, consumers’ demand favoured the less expensive iPhone 4 and 4S models.
“The arrival of the iPad Mini also created a dilemma for some users when deciding if to upgrade an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to an iPhone 5, or buy the new tablet,” Gartner said.
Samsung ended 2012 in the number one position in the overall mobile phone market, shipping 384.6 million units (22 per cent of the total) while Nokia shipped 333.9 million (19.1 per cent) and Apple sold 130.1 million (7.5 per cent).
During the fourth quarter, Chinese manufacturer Huawei reached the number three position in the smartphone market for the first time. In calendar 2012, the company sold 27.2 million smartphones, up 73.8 per cent from 2011.