Global sales of mobile phones have declined in the January-March quarter because of slowed down demand in the Asia-Pacific region.

For the first time in 10 quarters, mobile phone sales were put at 42 crore units in the quarter, a decline of two per cent over sales in the comparable quarter, according to research firm Gartner, Inc.

Nokia saw a decline of 22.7 per cent in its sale at 8.3 crore units, while Apple registered a growth of 96 per cent in phone sales, largely because of its success of iPhone 4S. China has emerged the second largest market for iPhones, contributing 50 lakh units in the quarter.

“Global sales of mobile devices declined more than expected due to a slowdown in demand from the Asia-Pacific region. The lower results in the first quarter of 2012 have led us to be cautious about sales for the remainder of the year,” Mr Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said.

Smarphone sales

Sales of smartphones, however, continued to drive mobile device market growth, reaching 14.44 crore units in the quarter, showing a growth of 44.7 per cent year-over-year.

Apple and Samsung, raising their combined share to 49.3 percent, up from 29.3 percent in the first quarter of 2011, and widening their lead over Nokia – which saw its smartphone market share drop to 9.2 percent.

Samsung became the world's top mobile handset vendor during the quarter, displacing Nokia which had held the No. 1 spot since 1998. Samsung's mobile phone sales reached 8.66 crore units, a growth of 25.9 per cent from last year. Samsung took back the world's No. 1 smartphone position from Apple, selling 3.8 crore smartphones worldwide.

In addition, Samsung's Android-based smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2012 represented more than 40 percent of Android-based smartphone sales worldwide.

BlackBerry maker RIM sold one crore handsets in the first quarter of 2012, with its global share declining to 2.4 per cent as competition increased in its international market strongholds

kurmanath@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on May 16, 2012)
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