Feature Article

February 13, 2013

Gartner: Global Mobile Phone Sales Show Decline in 2012

Gartner Inc., the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, reported that globally there was a 1.7-percent decline in mobile phone sales in 2012. Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner said, “The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009. Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year.”

Gartner analysts expect feature phones sales to continue to fall in 2013. Gartner predicts that worldwide smartphone sales to end users will be close to one billion units in 2013, and overall mobile phone sales to end users are estimated to reach 1.9 billion units.

This is surprising, since on December 31, 2012, I wrote that “This year saw an incredible jump in the number of smart mobile devices that were activated. In fact it broke all records.”

While sales may be strong in the U.S., the rest of the world shows different results.

Apple and Samsung continue to be the top two companies, with Samsung taking the number-one spot. This is true for both worldwide smartphone sales and overall mobile phone sales. Together they raised their global smartphone market share to 52 percent.

In 2011, their market share was 46.4 percent.

According to Gupta, “There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales. 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 Technologies Co. Ltd. is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company, headquartered in China. It had a strong fourth quarter in 2012 which helped the firm to reach the number-three spot among smartphone vendors.

In 2012, Huawei sold 27.2 million smartphones, which represents a 73.8-percent increase from 2011.

There were improved handset sales for Nokia’s fourth quarter in 2012. This was due to a good response to its Asha mobile phones and the launch of the latest Lumia Windows Phone 8 models. Unfortunately, it was not enough to stop Nokia from losing additional market shares only totaling 18 percent. This is the lowest that it has ever been.

Gartner has put together a couple of tables to show market share numbers:

Table 1

Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q12 (Thousands of Units)

Company

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 Technologies

13,679.1

2.9

13,966.1

2.9

TCL Communication

11,097.6

2.4

10,695.3

2.2

Lenovo

8,305.4

1.8

5,206.3

1.1

Sony Mobile Communications

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

Source: Gartner (February 2013)

Table 2

Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2012 (Thousands of Units)

Company

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 Technologies

47,288.3

2.7

40,663.4

2.3

TCL Communication

37,176.6

2.1

34,037.5

1.9

Research In Motion

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

587399.6

33.6

595886.9

33.6

Total

1,746,175.6

100.0

1,775,712.0

100.0

Source: Gartner (February 2013)

The following table shows that the Android OS received more than a 50-percent share of the OS market. This allowed Android to widen the gap with Apple’s iOS. Still called Research in Motion in 2012, BlackBerry’s market share declined 44.4 percent during this period.

Table 3

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 4Q12 (Thousands of Units)

Operating System

4Q12

Units

4Q12 Market Share (%)

4Q11

Units

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

Research In Motion

7,333.0

3.5

13,184.5

8.8

Microsoft

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

Source: Gartner (February 2013)

“2013 will be the year of the rise of the third ecosystem as the battle between the new BlackBerry10 and Widows Phone intensifies,” said Gupta. “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.”




Edited by Braden Becker


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