Global sales of mobile phones fell 3 per cent in the third quarter of 2012, compared to a year ago, according to a recent report published by Gartner Inc., the IT consultancy and advisory company. The saving grace was the 47 per cent increase in the sale of smartphones compared to a year earlier, the study showed.
Despite its ongoing patent war with Apple, Samsung not only retained the top slot, but gathered even greater market share in a slowing market. Industry analysts say the faster pace of smartphones has been the saving grace in an otherwise sluggish market. Gartner does not expect the festive season later this quarter to compensate for the overall decline.
Despite all its travails, Samsung accounted for more than 22 per cent of all mobile devices sold worldwide in the last quarter. It sold 98 million mobile devices, out of the total of sales of 428 million sold during the last quarter. The company increased its market share by more than four percentage points during the last year. More significantly, it sold 55 million smartphones during the third quarter of 2012, 56 per cent of all mobile it sold globally during the quarter.
What Samsung gained was almost exactly the extent of loss in market share that Nokia, once a pioneer in the mobile phone business, incurred. The Finnish company had a market share of 19.2 per cent, 4.7 percentage points lower than a year ago. The company, which has been attempting a turnaround after deserting the Symbian platform, slipped to Number 7 in smartphone sales. Industry observers trace the financial woes at Nokia to its slipping grip on the smartphone market.
Although Gartner believes that the Asha range of “full touch” phones and the Lumia range could halt Nokia’s slide, the consultancy does not see any scope for “significant improvement” before 2013.
A telling statistic from the Gartner survey is that Apple and Samsung together held a market share of more than 46 per cent in the smartphone segment.
Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said, “Both vendors together controlled 46.5 per cent of smartphone market.”
Referring to other contenders in the pecking order, Mr. Gupta said, “HTC and Research in Motion have seen their sales declining in past few quarters, and the challenges might prevent them from holding on to their current rankings.”