Gartner has released its report on mobile phone sales figures for the second quarter of 2012. As per the figures, mobile phone sales to the end user totalled 419 million units in Q2. Smartphone sales accounted for 36.7 percent of all mobile phone sales, and grew by 42.7 percent in Q2 2012. 


Samsung's growth came from the record sales of Galaxy smartphones

South Korean company Samsung Electronics, according to the report, saw very strong mobile handset sales. Samsung's sales went up 29.5 percent from the second quarter of 2011, and managed to stay above Apple and Nokia, two other popular brands in this space, quarter on quarter. The report reveals that Samsung's growth came from the record sales of Galaxy smartphones. Elaborating on this, the report says that smartphones now account for 50.4 percent of all Samsung mobile devices, i.e., 45.6 million units. The demand for Samsung's newest smartphone, the Galaxy S3 has been particularly strong, and went beyond the company's expectations. Samsung's sales reached a whopping 10 million units in the first two months after the smartphone's release. The S3, according to the report, has been the best-selling Android product in the quarter. Sales of the S3 could have been higher had it not been for product shortages.

The report quotes Anshul Gupta, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner, “Demand slowed further in the second quarter of 2012. The challenging economic environment and users postponing upgrades to take advantage of high-profile device launches and promotions available later in the year slowed demand across markets. Demand of feature phones continued to decline, significantly weakening the overall mobile phone market. High-profile smartphone launches from key manufacturers such as the anticipated Apple iPhone 5, along with Chinese manufacturers pushing 3G and preparing for major device launches in the second half of 2012, will drive the smartphone market upward. However, feature phones will continue to see pressure”.

Among other things, the report highlighted that quite in contrast to Samsung's climb, the consumer demand for the popular Apple iPhone grew weak, with its sales falling 12.6 percent from the first quarter of 2012. Sales of the iPhone, however, grew 47.4 percent, year-on-year (YoY). The report projects that depending on the timing of the launch of the upcoming iPhone, the Cupertino-based company may experience “another weaker-than-usual” quarter in Q3 2012. However, the company “will be ready to take advantage of the strong holiday sales in North America and Western Europe that have historically remained immune to economic pressure”. 

“Samsung and Apple continued to dominate the smartphone market, together taking about half the market share, and widening the gap to other manufacturers. No other smartphone vendors had share close to 10 percent,” Gupta added. “In the race to be top smartphone manufacturer in 2012, Samsung has consistently increased its lead over Apple, and its open OS market share increased to one-and-a-half times that of Apple in the second quarter of 2012”.

Android leads the smartphone OS market

Android leads the smartphone OS market

Nokia, another popular company in this space saw its mobile phone sales decline by 14.8 percent in the second quarter of this year. But the company managed to win to an extent, as far as its feature phone market share goes. “Declining smartphone sales is worsening Nokia's overall position, as it had already lost the No. 1 position to Samsung in the previous quarter and is facing reduced profitability due to continuous declining sales of premium smartphones,” said Gupta.

The report found that Android continued to lead the smartphone OS market with an increase of 20.7 percent points in market share in Q2 2012. Apple's iOS market grew year-on-year by 0.6 percent, but declined by 3.7 percent quarter-on-quarter. The report attributes this decline “as users postponed their upgrade decisions in most markets ahead of the upcoming launch of the iPhone 5”.

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