Global Mobile Handset Market 2012: Mobile Sales Decline, Smartphones Surge


A study by IT research and advisory firm Gartner pointed out that global sales of mobile phones decreased 2% in Q1 2012 for the first time after a similar trend back in the Q2 2009. Leading mobile manufacturer Samsung topped mobile phone sales worldwide in the same period with a slightly higher market share than rival Nokia.

Of the total worldwide mobile sales in Q1 2012, at least 40% of the market share was captured by Samsung (20.7%) and Nokia (19.8%).

That’s good news for Samsung because it signifies a spike of 28% in mobile handsets sales in Q1 2012 (8.65 crore handsets) as compared to the first 4 months of 2011 (6.87 crore handsets). On the other hand Nokia witnessed about a 21% drop in its sales for the same time period, selling 8.31 crore handsets in Q1 2012 as compared to 10.75 crore in Q1 2011.

Worldwide Mobile Device Sales [1st Qtr 2012]

Q1-2012 Mobile Handset Market Share

Apple has reason to smile because its market share went from 3.9% in Q1 2011 to 7.9% in Q1 2012. It sold more than 3.31 crore mobile phones in that period this year as compared to 1.68 crore last year. Obviously the baseless assumptions by many who believed that Apple would plummet without Steve Jobs’ presence have been proved wrong. And with the whole world eagerly awaiting the launch of iPhone 5, Apple’s footprint is set to grow.

In terms of total worldwide sales and market share, the leaders Samsung, Nokia and Apple were followed by ZTE, LG, Huawei Device, Research in Motion, Motorola, Sony Mobile Communication, HTC and other smaller mobile companies.

Interestingly, market share of South Korean mobile giant LG dropped 37% with sales of 2.39 crore handsets in Q1 2011 vs. 1.47 crore in Q1 2012. On the other hand, Chinese manufacturer Huawei Device saw a growth of nearly 63% in market share with sales soaring from about 70 lakh handsets in Q1 2011 to 1.08 crore in Q1 2012.

Motorola, the company which invented mobile phones had a tiny market share of 2% of total mobile phone sales worldwide. It sold about 83.6 lakh handsets in Q1 2012 as compared to 87.8 lakh in the same period in 2011.

Worldwide Smartphone Sales [1st Qtr 2012]

Contrary to overall mobile phone sales worldwide, the smartphone segment witnessed a solid surge of 44.7% as compared to Q1 2011. Sales of Android based phones saw a jump of 122% from 3.6 crore handsets in Q1 2011 to 8.1 crore in Q1 2012.

Retaining number one spot and with a 56% market share, Android phones amounted to more than half of smartphone sales worldwide.

Operating System 1Q12  Units 1Q12 Market Share (%) 1Q11  Units 1Q11 Market Share (%)
Android 81,067.40 56.1 36,350.10 36.4
iOS 33,120.50 22.9 16,883.20 16.9
Symbian 12,466.90 8.6 27,598.50 27.7
Research In Motion 9,939.30 6.9 13,004.00 13
Bada 3,842.20 2.7 1,862.20 1.9
Microsoft 2,712.50 1.9 2,582.10 2.6
Others 1,242.90 0.9 1,495.00 1.5
Total 144,391.70 100 99,775.00 100

iOS based smartphones manufactured by Apple also saw a steep rise in sales of nearly 96%. 3.3 crore handsets were sold in Q1 2012 overshadowing a figure of 1.6 crore in Q1 2011. This brings Apple to a commanding 2nd place in overall market share (22.9%) in worldwide sales of smartphones in Q1 2012. Apple and Samsung have a solid grip over the global smartphone market with a combined market share of 49.3%.

Almost all other smartphone platforms witnessed a decline in market share and total sales for Q1 2012 as compared to Q1 2011.

Sales of Symbian based phones slumped 54% from 2.7 crore in Q1 2011 to 1.2 crore in Q1 2012. This platform also lost its previously held 2nd place in market share to iOS. In Q1 2011, 27.7% of all smartphone sales worldwide were those based on a Symbian platform. In Q1 2012, they make up only 8.6% of global smartphone sales.

Key Mobile phone Device Trends

  • While the decline in overall sales is not the best of signs, it may very well indicate that users are slowly shifting from traditional handsets to smartphones. Total mobile phone sales decline 2% but smartphone sales meteorically rise 44.7%.
  • Samsung beats Nokia to grab top market share in total mobile phone sales in the world in Q1 2012 as compared to Q1 2011. 20.7% of all mobile phone sales are attributable to Samsung.
  • Figures for Apple expand as sales and market share grow 96% and 102% respectively. Apple sells 7.9% of the world’s mobile phones. A successful launch of the much awaited iPhone 5 could see Apple dominating the smartphone market.
  • China based manufacturer Huawei Device’s mobile handset global sales increase 54% although its current market share only 2.6% worldwide. Founded in 1987, Huawei Device has expanded its footprint to 140 countries and has R&D centres in 20 countries.
  1. Alpesh Vaidya says

    important information here u given to us…….. thank u very much.

  2. Malick Md says

    Android is really a hit in SmartPhone market. It has become the flagship of Google in addition to Search, Gmail, Adsense…Only issue with Android is there are different flavors – now it is about 400 of them!

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

who's online