Mobile phone sales dropped in Q2 but Samsung weathers storm


Demand for mobiles has slowed, resulting in a 2.3 per cent drop in worldwide sales during the second quarter of 2012.

Some 419 million units were shipped during the quarter, according to analyst firm Gartner. Although overall numbers were down, the portion represented by smartphone sales went up. Sales of such devices accounted for more than a third (36.7 per cent) of overall shipments and marked an increase of 42.7 per cent compared with numbers from the same period in 2011.

High-profile launches such as the Apple iPhone 5 will drive the smartphone market upward in the latter half 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," said Gartner's principal research analyst Anshul Gupta.

Google's Android operating system managed to hold onto its market lead, while demand for Apple's iOS experienced pause mode something that looks set to change with the arrival of the next-generation iPhone in the coming months.

"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," Gupta added.

Some of the hardware manufacturers felt the lack of demand more than others, with Samsung weathering the storm well and experiencing year-on-year growth of 29.5 per cent to ensure it outshone rivals Apple and Nokia. Figures were bolstered by the success of its Galaxy range particularly the Samsung Galaxy S3 - which now accounts for more than 50 per cent of its device portfolio in terms of sales.

Demand for the iPhone fell by 12.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter but was up by almost 50 per cent year-on-year, while Nokia was hit hard and saw Q2 sales decline by 12.8 per cent.

"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 per cent," 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."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.