Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales Cooled in 2012


The growth of mobile phone sales, so hot for so long, has cooled. Research firm Gartner reports that sales of these devices fell 1.7% to 1.75 billion in 2012. Maybe the problem is that anyone who can own a handset already does.

The smartphone end of the industry continues to do better. Smartphone sales were 207.7 million in the fourth quarter of last year, or up 38.3%. No company has been able to approach Samsung and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) in terms of global smartphone market share. That situation did not improve for their competitors at the end of 2012.

According to Gartner:

In the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple and Samsung together raised their worldwide smartphone market share to 52 percent from 46.4 percent in the third quarter of 2012. Samsung ended the year in the No. 1 position, in both worldwide smartphone sales and overall mobile phone sales.

"There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales," said Mr. Gupta. "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."

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Consumer Electronics, Wireless Tagged: AAPL