Gartner: Global Mobile Phone Sales Fall for First Time in Three Years

Worldwide mobile phone sales declined 1.7 percent in 2012 according to a new report from Gartner. The report confirms that this is the first time sales have seen an annual decline in three years.

“The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009,” explains 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.”

Despite the small tumble, Apple and Samsung increased their dominant share to 52 percent of worldwide smartphone sales.

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 1.75 billion units in 2012, with smartphones continuing to drive overall mobile phone sales.

One of the brightest periods for sales in 2012 occurred in the fourth quarter, which saw record smartphone sales of 207.7 million units (up 38.3 percent from the same period last year.)

2012 clearly ended on the upswing for mobile phone sales, Gartner says, which bodes favorably for 2013.

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