Gartner Report: Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales Fall, Apple Continues To Shine
February 13, 2013

Gartner Report: Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales Fall, Apple Continues To Shine

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

At this point, it´s been well documented Android–and specifically Samsung–completely crushes Apple and its iOS in terms of market share, globally speaking that is. And as we move ever forward into the first quarter of 2013, analysts and data companies are busying themselves, releasing reports, and giving their take on the state of the smartphone market.

So far, these analysts have all shared a common thread: Android and iOS are the two top players in the mobile game, with the former taking a heady lead.

Today, Gartner released their own report, finding while the world is buying fewer mobile phones these days, smartphones--particularly Apple and Samsung branded smartphones--remain popular.

Overall, the global population purchased some 1.75 billion mobile phones last year, a 1.7 percent dip from 2011. If it weren´t for the smartphone, according to the Gartner report, mobile phone sales would have been lower than they were. Fourth quarter smartphone sales, in particular, drove mobile phone sales up. These 4th quarter smartphones sales–207.7 million units all told–were 38.3 percent higher than the same quarter in 2011.

It could easily be assumed millions of smartphones were given as gifts during the 2012 holiday season. Not only were these sales strong in this period, but sales of plain-jane feature phones suffered a significant dip during the busiest shopping season of the year.

Overall, feature phone sales totaled 264.4 million units during 4Q12, a 19.3 percent decrease year-over-year.

All told, fewer people are choosing “dumbphones” and are opting for phones of the smart variety, more often than not an Apple or Samsung device. Combined, these two Frenemies captured 52 percent of the global smartphone marketshare in 4Q12, up from 4Q11´s 46.4 percent.

As noted in several other places, Android OS (particularly Samsung phones) topped the charts, selling more phones–both dumb and smart– than any other company.

This Gartner report even deals in numbers of phones sold as opposed to phones shipped, a notable difference from most other reports.

For instance, Gartner claims Samsung sold 64.5 million phones in 4Q12, an 85 percent increase over 4Q11. Gartner also claims Samsung was responsible for adding 384.6 million sales to the overall global phone sales total for a 28 percent increase over 2011. More than half of these 384 million sales were smartphones, placing their numbers higher than Apple´s 130 million total smartphone sales in 2012.

“"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,” explained Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta, in a statement to ZDNet.

Coming in a distant third in terms of platform market share is the company formerly known as RIM. In 4Q12, BlackBerry captured only 3.5 percent of the market, a 5.3 percent decrease over 4Q11. Microsoft was a close 4th, capturing 3 percent of the total global market in 4Q12.

Nokia, maker of Windows Phone phones, lost market share in the last quarter, reaching their lowest numbers in the company´s history.